by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, April 28, 2016

May 2016: Retrogrades, T-squares and Trines

image: A droplet forms after a rain shower in India
(photo credit: Shantanu Kuveskar, June 2014) 
Feeling irritated? A bit frustrated, perhaps? Has your level of motivation dribbled away into nothingness? 

Ah yes ... Mars retrograde can sometimes feel like a tooth extraction being done without painkiller. You’re in some position, there isn't anything which can be done at the moment to get out of it, and you aren't feeling particularly inspired to tackle the climbing of any new peaks of personal effort.

But since Mars -- whether direct or in retrograde -- lurks within our metaphysical psyche tapping its impatient planetary toe, you try. And as we try, something else arises or gets in the way. Or something else gets -- or demands our attention. Or slows things down, or prove to be so tedious you can hardly bear to keep with anything.

Or maybe you realize you really do need to reconsider something before pressing on. But when you go to do that reconsidering, it feels worthless ... boring ... uninspiring.

That's very Mars retrograde. In fact, even when things go in our desired direction, Mars retrograde periods are full of less-than-brilliant enthusiastic -- on our part as well as that of others. 

And of course we're far more inclined to forgive ourselves for not being revved up and in gear than anyone else. Our reasons for being tired, we understand. Theirs? Not so much. We all feel more tired, older and yet less wise -- and in general, less convinced of everything than we think we “should” be. We’re all touchier than usual and disinclined to be as patient as we know we should be ... but just aren't.

And that annoys us too. Answers don’t seem particularly forthcoming, and even when a solution does show up and get carried through on, results don't feel as satisfying as usual, which leads to feelings of  futility. Under Mars retrograde, fevers (emotional or physical) flare and “underground” resentments, anger and buried frustration may burst out -- or be in the process of getting stored away. 

On the other hand, given Mars as ruler of the “I Am” sign of Aries, its retrogrades are also times when the Mars ‘energy turned inward’ (because of retrograde) spells arriving at a decision. Or investing our (Mars) energy in our Self, whether that means cleaning up the garage, our 'look' or the effect some illness or injury has left us to deal with.

Even if we’re not sick, challenged or injured, Mars retrograding in Sagittarius would be a good time to learn something new about how to take care of ourselves -- whether that means learning more about our health, a class which will help with our career or anything else which has the potential to pay benefits over time.

However, despite everything, Mars is still retrograde. That means wherever we are trying to ‘move ahead,’ spread our wings or push back some boundary, that’s where Mars retrograde is going to test us – at least to some degree. Somehow, life will cause us to either learn more about what it takes to get from where we are to where (think we) want to go – or life will cause us to face the reality of being stalled, sidetracked, derailed or otherwise challenged by details and things we don’t know (or know enough about).

And any of that can – and is highly likely to – slow our forward momentum. For whatever reason, we need to slow down and take some stock, as Mars retrograde is always about working on our inner Self or inner world.

When Mars is direct, we go out and conquer. We build, we fix, we try, we initiate … and where we go over the line, we break things, collide with others (and life) and just annoy everyone (including our Self).

But now, with Mars in retrograde – the shoe is on our other metaphysical foot. So now we work on our Self – we stand and look at our personal challenges, internal and external. We work at trying to get a better perspective on our abilities and why some things we do work and others don't, why some parts of our life have worked and others haven't gotten us where we want to go.

Or at least where we thought we wanted to go. Sometimes Mars retrograde ... especially one which is running concurrently with a Mercury retrograde, such as this one is ... will get us to thinking about our choices. Which ones have worked? Which choices have fallen flatter than a pancake? And of those, are there any we can turn around?

Do we dare? Do we want to?

With all this stopping to think and feeling bedraggled or otherwise tired, it may be a surprise to hear Mars retrograde also brings with it a certain odd kind of haste - in particular one which can have us so impatient to 'get on with it' that we forego preparations we would normally do. Instead we go off half-cocked (in some physical, verbal or otherwise manner), exposing our vulnerabilities in the process.

And yes, that's another part of (theoretically) why Mars retrograde exists. Not so we can fall down and go 'boom,' but so we can learn about those vulnerabilities and attend to them before we take that fall! Under Mars retrograde we will tend to stub our toe, get exhausted or get our knickers in a twist simply because those things cause (even force) us to slow down -- sometimes just to conserve energy (a very Mars retrograde issue) or simply so we can think things through, whether its annoying us all to tar to have to do so, or not.

Mars being also the energy with which in 'triggering' us causes us to respond, with Mars in retrograde, our response to all things -- be they challenges, opportunities, a ringing phone or that truck changing lanes right in front of us -- they all tend to be just a little bit slower.

So we often miss the mark -- be that 'target' physical or conversational. And so will others, as under Mars retrograde attention often strays. 

Plus, if we're talking conversational or verbal statements (spoken, written, electronic, etc.) Mercury is in retrograde, too -- which right there is a warning about thoughts and reactions and 'steps being taken' not going as planned. The sign of this Mercury retrograde being Taurus, when combined with Mars retrograding in Sagittarius that gives us a 'background theme' about things we need to do versus things which are more about what we want to do, with the unlovely (retrograde) truth most often being how we have some sort of ‘want’ classified as a ‘need’ -- and vice-versa.

(Don’t you just hate it when that happens?)

Apart from that, there are a couple of other ‘astro-themes’ worth mentioning prior to getting down to May particulars. The first has to do with a transiting Saturn t-square first talked about in the February (2016) post when we were still looking forward to the March 9th solar eclipse at 18 Pisces. 

Here’s the image:

(from the astroPPM February 2016 post)
Well, as May begins, the essence of that t-square is still with us – the Saturn and Lunar Nodes part. Which means Saturn is still square the Nodes, as it has been since March - and which it will be all month … and for some time beyond. So we know working on relationships and ‘our relationship to relationships’ is, and has been a big thing for several months now. And even if the focus has changed over time, this same issue of the relationships and relating is going to remain something we spend a deal of ‘private time’ thinking about. (Puzzling about, being annoyed at, wishing it wasn’t a problem … etcetera.)

For some of us, it’s the relationships we have which are creating challenges. For others, it’s the lack of relationships or the ability to ‘relate’ or understand the value of someone or something which is complicating life.

At the astrological heart here is one idea: that of Saturn – a symbol of ‘work and earn, lest you lose and become limited’ affecting all of us. With Saturn in Sagittarius and at the t-square’s ‘t’ against the nodes, there’s something about the beliefs of others we have a hard time with. And since they’re having the very same problem with everyone they know, things are difficult. If all sides can open up, if everyone can just dedicate their Self (Saturn-style) to being honest so that we all could work on our interlocking issues at the same time, problems could get solved.

But we can’t. Or at least we aren’t likely to. As deeply as Saturn speaks to reality and realities, here Saturn is positioned in a sign (Sagittarius) which is ruled by Jupiter – and Jupiter and Saturn are going to be in square this month, which with Mars and Mercury in retrograde is a virtual recipe for mixed messages, missed cues and the experience of time as something both precious and terribly hard to manage. Getting ahead and attending to all which needs attention is our aim … and yet somehow other people and other priorities cause problems. 

So that’s the first part of the t-square, and we’re all going through it. We are being challenged to build (or rebuild) a world (or our world) – which is very Saturn square Jupiter. But then there’s the other part of the t-square: the Saturn square Neptune part with Neptune in opposition to Jupiter, which taken together suggests a desire (on everyone’s part) to be currently involved with a dream which doesn’t exist.

But that doesn’t stop the t-square process. And as t-squares ‘operate’ in zodiacal order, there’s a connection being expressed here between reality and reality as we might want it to be with Saturn (at the ‘t’) speaking to universal factors … be they of time, energy, resources, education, opportunity, legalities or availability … which are universally (i.e., across the board and for everyone) either getting in the way or there to be mastered before success can be achieved.

We are holding onto some (Saturn) notion which sounds (Neptune) glorious, or which we imagine could be (Neptune) perfection, but which in reality is not workable – at least not as reality (or realities) now stand – and nobody wants to accept that. To continue pressing ahead without reconnoitering (which is what most of us are likely to do in some fashion), that’s unlikely to yield wonderful results. Yet something about what we think can be accomplished is enough to lure us to keep trying, believing in our hearts we can just persevere or ‘bully’ our way through.

Saturn square Neptune often speaks to the allure behind addictions. Need I say more?

And yes, we may get to our destinations or goals and end up being satisfied even if they aren’t our fairy tale dream. But those who preserve out of sheer blatant stubbornness and determination (i.e., without any real understanding) are likely to end up with something which wasn’t worth the hassle … while those who simply take a step back run the risk of catching a case of the ‘what if’s which will bother them for quite some time. Either way, things are not likely to be presented as a set of delightful choices this month. Everything is going to require effort, and that effort (given the t-square) is likely to at least LOOK like far more than we had expected.

But remember: t-squares are all about our learning how to see things not simply from a purely personal perspective. So would things be as tough as we imagine?

Also … as the calendar reaches May, the Sun is moving out of Taurus’ first ten degrees (Taurus’ most personal and physical degrees) into the second ten, that second ten degrees of every sign being where that sign expresses itself emotionally. So we know that as May begins, prioritized matters of physical survival and comfort will give way to the prioritizing of issues having to do with our feelings of security – which is where Taurus gets into conflict with the emotion-centric sign on the opposite side of the zodiac, that sign being Scorpio.

Taurus’ second ten degrees are optimally all about using who and what we are in what we do, growing our confidence through learning and experience. And as such, that’s what life hands us as May begins: all sorts of situations and dynamics which present us with situations, tasks and events which poke and test both our strengths and weaknesses, getting us to react in a hopefully constructive manner by owning our glitches and working on vulnerabilities as we go about also doing our best and displaying our prowess where we can. Beyond that, by moving into Taurus’ second decanate (the second set of ten degrees), the Sun (which is already in trine with Jupiter in Virgo) will also come to be in position to trine transiting Pluto in Capricorn.

And that forms an earth sign grand trine.

This particular grand trine is going to evolve. As we get to May 6th, Mercury will join the party by virtue of having retrograded far enough back through Taurus – and then, as the Sun continues its daily count through Taurean degrees, the Sun and Mercury will meet up on May 9th at 19 Taurus (with Mercury still in retrograde), indicating a moment in time when we may well lack perspective – call it a momentary blind spot, maybe. And since the thing we are most likely to be ‘blind’ (or spotty) about is our Self and whatever we are doing at that moment, it will pay dividends to be careful when driving, texting, dealing with complexities and when executing transactions.

Fortunately, by the time this happens, the Sun (and Mercury) will have broken off their tie to Jupiter (by having moved out of orb of aspect), which is like as not a positive indicating a lesser (rather than greater) size or scope of effect. On the other hand, in letting go of the trine to Jupiter, the Sun and Mercury will have come into trine with the North Node (the “should do” side of the nodes), meaning relationships, and our ability or willingness to relate to others (and/or their concerns) will be becoming more of a general priority as we move past May 9th and on into and through mid-month.

With any transiting configuration in earth signs, questions of values and common sense go on the table. So with this grand trine lasting most of the month, we can expect the question of values and what we value (along with questions about how much things are ‘worth’) to pepper the whole of the month. A lot of this will be retrospectives – expect a lot of ‘looking in the rear view mirror’ this month, particularly where things are, or have taken place in a ‘behind the scenes’ sort of manner.

And one other thing to remember as we samba into May, that being a simple reminder about how with the New Moon of May 6th we will be moving into a lunar month which has every chance of ‘echoing’ matters which arose in conjunction with this past March’s solar eclipse. Maybe you’ll have to reconsider some part of what you did then. Or maybe you’ll need to adjust some calculations or deal with further developments. Perhaps by now we know more and are thus in a better position to ‘make good’ on some sort of opportunity first heard of (or thought about) back in March. With the solar eclipse having taken place at 18 Pisces, there were all sorts of things we had to deal with which are only now beginning to make sense – whether that’s a happy or disgruntled sense of things!

Plus of course there are those who have yet to make their personal changes. Whatever is left to be contended with (actively) from the 18 Pisces solar eclipse is apt to pop up again this month. Even where we’ve met the challenge and have done what we know we had to do (difficult though it may have been) there’s more to learn now.

And that part of the learning is going to be done with Mars and Mercury in retrograde, which means it’s likely to be something very personal and very intrinsic to our Self, something we are (or aren’t) because of decisions long made and things we have no part in choosing – like where we were born, who we were born to and how our early years of life played out. Things are changing, and we are evolving with them. With the astrological figure being a grand trine, there’s virtually no effort required, other than that we’re already using or expending to keep life going, that is. And what we learn as we move ahead may help us reach our goals, render them obsolete or unnecessary … or make them more difficult than ever to reach. We may not be directly affected at all, but rather come to see our Self as others do. Or learn how wrong we were about how things … people … life … work.

Most of all, we’re getting an opportunity to renew our experience of daily life in its most richly and interestingly basic form, giving us a broader and more inclusive perspective on what is ‘worth it’ or not to us in the longest of long runs.

So that’s the ‘backdrop’ for May, against which we have all sorts of other players on life’s stage – such as… 

May 1 
Asteroid Lilith is entering Aquarius on May the 1st (by the UT/+0 clock), suggesting some sort of encounter (situational, theoretical or mental) with something we’re either likely to deny about our Self, or something we don’t want to take responsibility for – or perhaps even be associated with.

More importantly (in all likelihood) is that asteroid Vesta conjuncting transiting Mercury at 23 degrees of Taurus, a combination which – particularly with Mercury in retrograde – is very likely to have us considering (or reconsidering) why we have done whatever we have done or not done, depending on your situation and what arises at this time. 

May 2 
As Maximov enters Gemini on May the 2nd (UT/+0) something begins becoming … or seeming like it may become ‘maximally’ important – or at least interesting. Moreover, that ‘thing’ is more likely to be of mental rather than physical origin, being as Gemini is the land of all thought processes, whether that’s attitude, aptitude with words, coming up with a detailed plan or learning everything you need to know to pass next week’s exam. With Gemini, it’s in what we say, how (or whether) we think something through – or whether we know enough about something to begin with which doesn’t just count … it’s what other successes depend on.

So communications, whether verbal or the ‘communicating’ of one’s body from one place to another, or getting some communication (an email, a contract, a newspaper, a parcel, an airliner) from point A to point B – they all apply here.

Operators working a 1953 switchboard operators in Djakarta, Indonesia
(photo credit: January 1953)
And let’s remember: Mercury is retrograde. So we must all expect the unexpected.

Plus with Mars in retrograde, we may not feel like tackling anything which looks so … well, let’s just say so much bigger than the effort we want to put into it at the moment and leave it at that, shall we?

One other thing to consider here, that being that this date (May the Two) is the moment at which we are one week away from Jupiter’s station-direct point. So we would expect things to be ‘becoming larger’ …in life, in our mind, in our heart – or wherever else is either handy, or surely in some cases, very much not-so-handy.

Lore teaches we have the answers, if we will but look for them – and in this case, with Jupiter retrograding in Virgo, probably if we will stop trying to be so right (or convinced of our own position) for a minute and try to comprehend the emotional position of those on the ‘other’ side of the fence or our conversation or whatnot. Whatever and whoever we are dealing with, they are having all these same global problems we are having, so by understanding them and their needs, we gain knowledge on how to incorporate whatever is ‘missing’ and which will thus allow us to move our cause forward.

Not in any hurry or anything… after all, let’s be real: Mars is retrograde. But May does feature a few of these peek-a-boo moments when clues and hints and missing scraps of whatever information is necessary for idea making may well come to light.

Why not be aware of them? 

May 3 
May 3rd brings another change of sign for yet another asteroid, theoretically marking the moment when something we are going to confront or be dealing with changes tone – or maybe the source it’s tapping into.

In us, I mean.

The asteroid concerned here is Waterloo, an asteroid which speaks to what we back away from – or end up ‘retreating’ from once we realize we’re over-matched. That 'thing' can be external or internal, though with Waterloo in direct motion it's more likely to be something in the world or life ... or even something we don't want to do, don't know how to do, or which we have done -- and which we want to 'get away' from. In moving out of Aries and into Taurus, that line across which we shouldn’t step and that brass ring just beyond our reach becomes more of a ‘line’ which, whether physical or not, represents ‘the line’ between that which is sensible, acceptable, workable or possible ... and that which isn’t.

While in Aries, Waterloo represented the physical aspect of the thing, the motivation, the idea – where in Taurus it speaks to the value which drives our desire or effort to have or get to that thing, or, considering how having Mercury and Mars simultaneously in retrograde is a doubling up of indicators which point to a ‘working on the Self’ period – that which we are confronting some need to ‘back away’ or ‘retreat’ from, whatever that may mean.

One other thing about Waterloo, some might say, is how the place best known for this name is in Belgium – a location very much in current news. Do such things apply in astrology? Not always, though purely in the metaphysical sense, the association is obvious.

Charge de la cavalerie de la Garde impériale à Waterloo (detail)
by Louis Dumoulin (1860-1924)
May 3rd is also the date when managerial Juno, a symbol of that which we ‘manage’ or manage to take care of (or negatively, that we fail to manage) – when Juno, which is also in retrograde, comes to oppose Venus.

So where is Juno to be doing all this opposing? The answer there is early Scorpio – which with Venus happily posited in Taurus poses questions about the managing of expectations, a deal of caution used in trying to win people over, or perhaps the reality of a situation which at least for this very moment needs managing, whether things turn out well or not.  

May 4 
By the UT/+0 clock, one of the ‘bad boy’ asteroids – Sisyphus – retrogrades from Scorpio back into Libra as of May 4th, increasing the likelihood (depending on where this falls in any of our individual natal charts) that we’ll be confronted with some sort of situational tests -- or tests which generally hit us in our 'ability-versus-willingness' quotient. That's the basic Sisyphus question ... given that we have some sort of power or ability, will we do what we can to help -- or will we use them as some sort of 'toy' or 'pawn' simply because we have the ability to do so?

Unfortunately, where Sisyphus is concerned, there's a marked tendency to not merely not care about the other guy or some other ‘side’ of the question, but also to be willing to take advantage of the situation for our own pleasure or gain.
Sisyphus is not on station. And let's remember - any point we 'meet up with' can manifest as 'within us' or in the people or situations we face. In retrograde -- with Mars and Mercury also in retrograde -- we get the idea of 'reflecting on' something, so that may be thinking back on what we've done (or not done) ... or what someone else did or didn't do. Even what did or didn't get done.

And as to moving from Scorpio back into Libra, Libra adds an additional measure of 'facing' something -- whether it's your feelings about what you have (or) haven't done, or some certain knowledge you have done something wrong when you could have done much better.

Sisyphus has a very special place in Greek myth, as after much ado about much done wrong the Olympian gods do the Greek and mythic version of 'throwing the immortal book' at Sisyphus by stationing his sinful self in the company of only one other nasty person just outside the doors of Tartarus -- the Greek underworld.

Sisyphus represents some sort of warning - to us, about our Self, asking us to think first of walking in someone else's shoes before we simply live our life through who we are and our advantages like some celebrity in a reality show playing out in our mind. In retrograding from emotional Scorpio into airy, idea-based Libra the thing which separates and binds us to others and our world stops feeling quite so 'vital,' allowing us to think, to see, to feel who we are and have been being.

Now ... how we feel about that? That's another question ... one which with New Moon just a day or so away speaks to a letting go of something we regret (or regret about our Self) in favor of preparing to rededicate ourselves to who we want to be-and-become.

May 6 
As the New Moon comes into formation at 19:31 (7:31 p.m., UT/+0 time) on May 6th at 16 Taurus, things are bound to take a turn -- yes, yet again. Just as things got personal and began ratcheting up last month with regards to what specific individuals were doing or not doing as the Aries New Moon showed up (on April 7th), with this Taurus New Moon in Taurus we get another shift of perspective and resulting focus.

So what will we be focusing on? As a sign, Taurus typifies all we do (and don’t want to do) in order to create security – or because we don’t feel all that secure, which obviously varies in each and every life, sometimes with each and every day. Associated with the 2nd house of the natal chart no matter what house Taurus may fall on in your individual nativity, Taurus speaks to how we deal with, and whether we are mature enough to master and/or work with a bevy of inner instincts which while valuable and correct in some cases are also entirely capable of causing us to reject – out of hand – something which is everything we have ever wanted simply because it’s new, different, challenging or a little scary simply because of our lack of familiarity. Known for its love of creature comforts, good food and pleasant – even luxurious recreational activities, Taurus invites us to feather our nest in every sense not so we can lord that over others, but so that we have a place to reconnoiter, recuperate and prepare for our next feat of gallant derring-do.

New Moon at 16 Taurus (glyph chart)
May 6, 2016 -- 19:31 (7:31 p.m.) UT/+0 -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
New Moon at 16 Taurus (text chart)
May 6, 2016 -- 19:31 (7:31 p.m.) UT/+0 -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific) 
As for 16 Taurus, being part of Taurus second decanate (its second ten degrees) this position would automatically speak to this New Moon – and thus the lunar month ahead having some quality or emphasis on the emotional aspects of comfort and security as opposed to (say,) acts to secure or repair physical security (which would be more ‘action and Aries-like’) or the idea of sitting down to plan for how to increase or affect those things upon which our security depends, that being more Gemini-like (which means we’ll meet up with it next month, when the New Moon appears in Gemini). As for the specific – 16 Taurus – being cited here, 16 Taurus is a degree lore speaks of as being on which brings a little good … and a little not so good which comes back to haunt us if we insist on only focusing on the good part. Thus while gains, achievements and successes which happen now may be well worth a bucket of cheers and an evening of celebration, if (or where) they cause us to ignore or deny what remains to be done or some sort of ‘clink’ or vulnerability which has despite all good intentions remained as part of the mix, then the good – the ‘celebrating’ or choosing to only look at the good or see the positive becomes something of a metaphysical distraction and yet another vulnerability.

This obviously has great implications for most – if not all of us, with those who practice optimism and not looking at or talking about the ‘bad stuff’ as a way of life being the most likely to suffer the down side of this New Moon and the entire lunar month if simply because they will be the most inclined to overlook, ignore or deny subtle cracks, flaws, weak links or other forms of exposure which could turn into liabilities.

Beyond that, the position of this New Moon has it involved in the earthy grand trine we were talking about earlier, helping turn at least part of that grand trine into a Kite. In essence, because Jupiter is not conjunct the North Node in Virgo, what we have is a Jupiter-New Moon (Sun + Moon)-Pluto grand trine PLUS a separate Kite built around the Nodes which the New Moon is ‘tied into,’ but not intrinsically part of.

Looking at each from the New Moon perspective, we probably should start by noting that this New Moon is conjunct asteroids Sabine, Pax and Sphinx, which suggests that those who are prone to being overly optimistic may either a.) embark on some over-optimistic course – whether of action, of thought or anything else … or b.) be finding out about some particular opinion, stance, action (or lack thereof) has amounted to waiting done in vain.

And a note for those embarkers of the moment: there’s nothing which says you can’t start a process of being over-optimistic and learn to temper that enthusiasm as time goes along. It’s a fairly common arc of effort, what with the amount of motivation and enthusiasm it takes to get anything off the ground in this life and world.

You’d think we were rockets.

323rd Delta rocket on launch pad 17B at Kennedy Space Center, Florida
(photo credit: NASA/Jerry Cannon, February 17, 2007)
Either way, given that the New Moon is trine Jupiter (on one hand) at 13 Virgo and separately trine the 20 Virgo North Node, there are many things which need doing, with varying feelings of responsibility and/or stress trying our patience, especially when we have those moments of wondering if we’ve forgotten something.

You know, in some fit of personal over-optimism.

Being that the 6th (UT/+0) is also the date when asteroid Apollo enters Aries and Kallisto goes into Gemini, especially with Mercury (as ruler of Gemini) and Mars (as ruler of Aries) both in retrograde, some (Apollo) ‘truth’ or bit of ‘enlightenment’ may be missing or take time to fully understand, never mind act on. Kallisto’s story also being one about going through a lot of undeserved difficulties (i.e., difficulties we did nothing to create) which require enduring underscores the idea that there’s something which is going to get worked through, ruling out immediate and complete gratification, though there’s nothing which says we may not experience some sort of ‘being involved’ as a triumph of sorts even if it’s going to lead to some further challenges.

Some things are worth working towards – and for. That much we all know. 

May 7 
Not to be confused with Kallisto, asteroid Kalypso will be on station and turning retrograde at 17 Capricorn on May 7th, an idea which suggests a connection between the strengths of this day (which may be substantial) and the ability to recognize (or ‘grok,’ as they say in science fiction of the Heinlein sort) the power we unleash in our own ability to capitalize on our talents when we aim at supporting that which is important to others as the energetic which generates the very sort of positive energetic which the Sun (at 17 Taurus), in trining Pluto (at 17 Capricorn) on this date sets off like a karmic firework.

Eiffel Tower with Fireworks by Slumbering (2008)
So perhaps there will be stars in our eyes to match those in the skies above. Then again, considering karma and fireworks, it’s possible something may blow up in our face. Things aren’t likely to be particularly subtle now, whether they make a difference in the long run or not, as besides all else, May 7th happens to be two days shy of May 9th – the date when Jupiter goes direct, meaning May 7th is the opening of the two-days-prior/two-days-after ‘allowance’ we give to all stations, even though astrologers tend to only talk about those of ‘major’ objects – i.e., planets, dwarf planets and a chosen list of (often individually) cherished asteroids.

Personal preferences of astrologers aside, all of this means anything of note which happen on the 7th or 8th is truly worth notice. Jupiter stations, particularly one where Jupiter is coming out of retrograde, either indicate or lead to periods of ‘increase,’ whether that’s a good thing or too much of a good thing. 

May 9
The time of Jupiter’s going direct is 12:16 p.m., UT/+0 time. (Please conjugate that time to your own zone!) And that Jupiter will be going direct at 13 Virgo is helpful in that 13 Virgo is a degree known for a quality which centers us in who we are and what we are doing at the moment, though there is a (negative) chance of being focused on the wrong thing in the wrong company brought out here.

Jupiter Direct (glyph chart)
May 9, 2016 -- 12 16 p.m. (UT +0) -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
 Jupiter Direct (text chart)
May 9, 2016 -- 12 16 p.m. (UT +0) -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
In going direct in trine to Pluto, Jupiter gives us good reason to work on, or to be/become invested in that which is going to change things for the better. Of course with Pluto in retrograde here, we also know that those changes are going to start with and within us and our ‘scope’ or sphere or operation – a notion which though it may not sound very enticing is already in progress and hopefully to soon bear fruit.

Of course, Jupiter trining Pluto at a Jupiter station can also indicate a change of circumstance – or a moment when things we ‘know’ are going to change go ahead and do just that. Whether anticipated or not, events and changes of status which occur now are likely to reveal something unexpected, whether that refers to some surprise or an indication that additional effort is required.

Another thing to note here is that this Jupiter station happens to be in conjunction with the degree of this September’s solar eclipse (9 Virgo) – which can certainly be an indicator that things which occur now may affect, or be tied to events which will come to be associated with September’s eclipse. This also means anyone and everyone who has a birthday between April 5th and June 21st (or) September 1st and November 17th (in other words, most of us) are currently operating with solar return charts which have Jupiter in position to be eclipsed come this September.

What could that mean? That would be a sign that the things we are working on, and which we have been striving to do or get done this year (meaning our personal solar return birthday-to-birthday year) will be revealed as successful (i.e., worth your time and effort) or not worth additional time and effort (at least not as things stand) at that time.

And a special note for those with birthdays around June 21st – and for the rest of us who are simply going to be living through June 21st of this year. On June 21st Jupiter perfects a conjunction with, and then passes the North Node at 15 Virgo, a degree which either emphasizes and underscores grace, loyalty, effort and everything it takes to be graceful and be loyal and get things done ….or which displays, promotes and provokes the type of vindictive resentment which can spur anything from devious dedication to figuring out how to lay a trap to deciding to ‘blow up the works’ if or where one feels betrayed, ignored, tossed aside or otherwise treated as less than worthy of proper respect (whatever that term “proper respect” may mean to anyone one of us).

Given how the lunar nodes always refer to the process of relating (whether to people, ideas or methodologies) or actual relationships, whether we are on the ‘birthday list’ or not, we’re in for at least a few days of dealing with feelings – our own or those of others – around the time Jupiter goes direct. Good or bad, pleasant or otherwise, such moments are what they are on their own and also some sort of model or revelation for us. Once Jupiter goes direct, life is going to pick up pace on an overt level – which is to say, things which have only been being talked or thought about will begin becoming choices, actions and rationales. Jupiter in Virgo is all about facing inevitabilities , the most basic of which is our personal need to have personal boundaries and a respect for who we are and the need to know our Self and  understand what we are doing even while respecting others, their feelings and their goals and priorities, whether they match ours or not.

With our Virgo Jupiter going direct in conjunction with the North Node, though we are convinced of our own position, this is also a moment when we are also likely to project. We consider our opinions worthy or worthwhile … but are also subject to feelings of insecurity which may cause us to feel threatened by the idea of someone else being ‘better’ at something.

The North Node always refers to things we are neither familiar with and also not particularly excited about having to become familiar with – even when it’s something we know we should try, figure out … or (maybe) most of all learn how to not reject out of hand.

But it’s not what we want to do. So, with Jupiter in Virgo and conjunct the North Node, some of us will dive in, taking hold of the challenge, the problem, the unknown simply to get the thing done. These people will work diligently and back down every glitch which shows up along the way. Then there are those who will reject things, insisting they know everything they need to know. Or they’ll act irresponsible just so they can get out of having to do something. Or they’ll just start announcing how others have no clue, no taste, no understanding of the issue -- and besides, who cares about them anyway?

In going direct in opposition to Neptune, this Jupiter station speaks to our ability to deceive ourselves – often in a manner we will come to be disappointed in (or about) later, seeing as how by the time we get to the September 1st solar eclipse, Neptune will still be in square to Saturn, speaking to things we have clung which aren’t what they appear to be. There is a temptation to not pay attention or be realistic which may arise at this time – in fact, some folks will go through moving heaven and earth to get out of things they know perfectly well how to do, they’re just not in the mood. With Saturn in Sagittarius and in square to both Neptune and Jupiter (creating the famous t-square effect) something is urging us to ‘get real’ or be realistic about something, though we can’t see what the payoff would really be.

What is real? What – or who -- is to be relied upon? That is something of a question now, especially as asteroid Scheherazade (an earnest tale, one told in desperation or under pressure) is going retrograde on May 10th, giving Jupiter’s station either a ‘story book’ or ‘tale worth telling’ sort of quality. Maybe this means you and your family go see a wonderful movie – something which everyone remembers. Then again, maybe this is a moment when something happens just like you thought it would – in a ‘story book’ manner.

Or maybe someone is just telling a story in order to manipulate a relationship. Or a situation. 

May 10 
Asteroid Scheherazade going retrograde at 19 Capricorn on May 10th is not an event we would expect many people to react to (or feel) very consciously, as the effects and manifestations of Jupiter’s going direct in a t-square with Saturn and Neptune is unquestionably going to be associated with the feelings, the notions, the efforts and discussions of this moment. And that may well be apropos. After all, Scheherazade refers to the ‘telling of a tale’ (or in the original example, a one-thousand-and-one Arabian Nights tales) – which may be told for any of a number of reasons: to entertain, to inform, to deceive, to inspire, to manipulate … the list is only as long as human imagination. Given how the original story shows how, despite great imbalances of power and experience between a listener (a king) and a storyteller (Scheherazade) much may be gained through a willingness to listen and an equal willingness to put things in such a way that they can get thought through and not merely reacted to, Scheherazade’s stations tend to occur as things which we can gain perspective through but aren’t necessarily going to slow down enough to appreciate occur.

Like I said … Scheherazade’s station is not one many of us are going to stop and savor. But it’s happening anyway, and at 19 Capricorn there is a quality of ‘stick to it’ which is being added to the mix. For some, this will undoubtedly add to the tendency to hold onto some dream despite all. For others, Scheherazade going retrograde at 19 Capricorn may act as some sort of cautious inner voice asking us to slow down and consider all the facts and ideas being put forth before making any decision or doing anything which we couldn’t thereafter change – as the king might have done had he killed his pretty prisoner only to discover afterward that he really liked and valued her. 

May 13-14 
With the maximal moment of Jupiter’s station effects beginning to appear in our rear view mirror (not that the subject at hand may not be ongoing) … it’s as we’re beginning to hit some sort of ‘stride’ when Venus, which is direct and securely positioned in Taurus, conjuncts Mercury, which is in retrograde if also in Taurus.

This could be a very nice moment – providing we are not counting on anyone else agreeing or ‘playing along’ with us. The degree of this transiting conjunction being 16 Taurus – the degree of the May 6th New Moon, this again raises the issue of how we deal with life’s up’s and downs – the good and not so enjoyable (if very useful to learn from) which together make up wholeness, if you will. Resolving questions and searches also reflect this influence – as does receiving or finding something you have been waiting for or hunting down.

Being that this conjunction is in Taurus, doing anything which is of worth or about worth or worthiness is a particularly apt match here, though with Mercury in retrograde, thinking things through (honoring the details) is important. (Whatever is afoot, do your homework!) 

May 19 
Mercury is going to be going direct on May 22nd, so as of the 19th Mercury can be said to be moving ‘into’ its station, indicating a time when ideas, efforts, conversations and matters we all have been focused on may be coming to a head, nearing completion, coming to a point of change or becoming clearer, which asteroid Niobe turning to retrograde at 22 Capricorn on this day may or may not play into.

Poised tragically over the bodies of her slain children, a marble statue of Niobe
in Arles, France carved in 1897
(photo credit: Finoskov, February 2013)
By itself, Niobe speaks to pride, or something we are overly proud of … along with those experiences which speak to those moments when our pride is shattered, when we take a ‘great fall’ (as they say in the world of Humpty Dumpty) because of too much pride (or all which goes with pride, such as boasting) … or in the life of some, finding the capacity to take pride in, or to be proud of some personal accomplishment.

In going retrograde at 22 Capricorn, Niobe’s station refers to something we may be a participant in, or reacting to – but the issue isn’t precisely ‘about’ us, which when we add that to the lore concerning 22 Capricorn speaks to (Niobe) too much pride in … or in spite of … something which operates ‘beyond the range of sight’ in a realm seldom frequented by others, whether we’re talking about some activity or career very few are involved in or some branch or form of knowledge which few people are currently interested in.

Having Niobe go retrograde marks both a moment of thinking about (or possibly confronting) issues about too much pride, and how (among other things) taking so much pride in one thing tends to keep many of us from doing anything else. 

(You know – the ‘resting on one’s laurels’ routine).

Does this mean Niobe’s station will mark a moment when we realize we need to get ourselves in gear? It certainly could. Then again, with Niobe going retrograde, the symbolism is greatly about the idea of pride being internalized, which may just mean taking more pride (or the need to take more pride) in what we do, or the person we are being about now.

With Damocles also going retrograde on this date, the effects of these two stations -- even though Niobe and Damocles are not directly in aspect – may also be about teaching us something about how we look at others … or how we think about our Self. The story of Damocles, after all, speaks to thinking a challenge someone else is facing is so easy … right up until the moment comes when you have to take the job on, complete with responsibilities to others and the dangers of doing everything wrong. That Damocles the courtier (in the original story) is so sure he could do a better job than the king is a form of Niobe in action – just as some excess or ‘overage’ of Niobe-like pride would be why Damocles would have been bragging he could do a better job to begin with, as opposed to trying to support or help his king make the difficult decision.

With Damocles going retrograde at 25 Aquarius, the origin of opinions driving the Damocles criticism and assumption we could do things better is described as coming from an emotional source which though positive in origin may ‘sour’ and become quite angry (or even violent) when things start going wrong – with ‘wrong’ in this case having everything to do with our expectations not playing out or things not working the way we thought (or had hoped) they would.

Together, both of these points speak to realizations that life isn’t as we wanted to imagine it would -- which may just take us back to that ‘are we overly optimistic?’, though they approach this question from very different positions. Damocles the courtier is watching his real time, real life, flesh-and-blood king struggle with a problem… and Damocles is thinking he could do it without all the fuss and drama. Niobe, on the other hand, comes to her great-and-mortal fall by  being so proud that she is announces her accomplishments (giving birth to so many beautiful and talented children) are more worthy, perfect and wonderful than anything which could ever be done by any god.

So maybe things which happen about now have to do with our getting a better perspective on what is ours to do and be as mortal human beings … and what isn’t.

Yes, it could be as simple as that – particularly as May 19th is the last day of Sun in Taurus, making this the date when matters having to do with worth (and self worth) come together for us to begin contemplating, Gemini style. 

May 20 
With Orcus going direct at 6 Virgo on the same date that the Sun moves into Gemini (as Mercury, ruler of Gemini, moves into its station) suggests unavoidable occurrences … some of which may be consequences, and some of which may be consequential … in times yet to come – that being the Orcus part – to which 6 Virgo adds notes about the kind of self-discipline which holds something back for a rainy day. (Or even for a flood.) The lore associated with 6 Virgo warns about jumping in or committing one’s Self to something without knowing what it will ‘cost’ for us to follow through, so for Orcus to be going direct as the Sun reaches Gemini suggests either ‘the bill’ (the cost) for something being presented or coming due – which we may or may not have thought about prior to now.

And yes, at 14:38 (2:38 p.m., UT/+0 time), the Sun will enter Gemini, setting off a snowballing solar month of thinking, planning, doing, talking, listening – along with not thinking, not planning, not doing, not talking and not listening, all of which may get us somewhere.

Sun in Gemini (glyph chart)
May 20, 2016 - 14:38 (2:38 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Sun in Gemini (text chart)
May 20, 2016 - 14:38 (2:38 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Then again, all of that may get us nowhere as well. After all, Gemini is famous for talking of all types: that which inspires along with that which says nothing.

As for that idea of ‘cost’ (or something ‘costing’ us time, money, loyalty or anything else), the issues represented by any pair (or list) of astrological ‘events’ occurring on the same day may blend or come together in single moments … or they may well be experienced ‘a la carte,’ as it were. However, seeing how the Sun is entering Gemini with Vesta, an asteroid which speaks to the things we vow (or) promise and what it takes to hold ourselves to those promises (that being another form of the idea of ‘what it costs us,’) … with Vesta at 1 Gemini, it would seem that either this date – or the whole of the Sun’s passage through Gemini is going to be at least somewhat concerned with what things cost, whether that’s a reference to monetary cost or otherwise and whether the idea of ‘cost’ which is being referenced pertains to the consequences of something in the past which (Orcus) cannot be changed or something which could happen which we are now (Sun + Vesta) facing and thinking through the cost of preventing.

Apart from that, with Mars at 2 Sagittarius (and thus in opposition to the Sun’s entering Gemini) this moment – and to some extent the whole of this solar ‘month’ (Sun in Gemini) is going to be all about pushing ahead and catching up with others (physically, mentally or emotionally). With Mars conjunct fixed star Toliman (at 29 Scorpio), things are right for sudden confrontations, too, whether that means we get confronted by some kind of information which totally changes our perspective, confronted by some necessity we are going to have to take care of (or account for) before we press on – or even some kind of physical confrontation, particularly where we are trying to ‘get from one place to another.’

With Mercury still in retrograde and now moving on station, important matters may surface at this time, with our ability to ‘keep our head on straight’ and stay focused being important, lest we suffer some sort of accident (literal, verbal or figurative) because we ‘looked away’ (mentally or literally) at just the wrong moment. Mercury rules all our modes of transport, whether we’re transporting ourselves or some sort of cargo, and as Mercury is part of the ongoing (Pluto-Jupiter/North Node – Mercury) grand trine in earth, things which have to do with, or which would result in an effect on concrete things or the terms or duration of our personal security (emotional, financial, situational) are likely to get tested, especially if your chart is aspected by the Sun-Mars opposition OR any part of the Mercury-Pluto-Jupiter/North Node grand trine.

Having the Sun enter Gemini with Mercury (Gemini’s ruler) in retrograde indicates a bit of muddiness or situations which haven’t yet been decided. Some of us are waiting (whether we know it or not!) for Mercury to go direct on the 22nd as that will be when that ‘missing piece’ of our current puzzle will get solved. Then again, the Sun’s entry into Gemini in opposition to Mars may be just what sets something off or brings something to light – and that something may or may not be worthwhile, valid or something we really want to be involved with. Mercury itself won’t be reaching Gemini until June 12th – but that it will be doing so a day shy of Neptune’s turning to retrograde (with Mars still in retrograde) suggests treading lightly or carefully (whichever best suits your terrain) and taking time to be sure of things before making commitments in areas or arenas where we haven’t ‘done our homework’ or where we haven’t been involved for enough time to know viable from non-viable and good from bad almost as a matter of rote.

Experience counts now, in other words, and those whose attempts to act or grab or reach for something beyond their ‘grasp’ are likely to meet up with – or result in – challenges, an idea we get not just from all of the above, but also from the idea that the Sun is reaching Gemini just a day shy of this month’s Full Moon. 

May 21 
For those who have fallen on the angry or ‘outburst-prone’ side of Sun-opposition-Mars, having a Full Moon at 1 Sagittarius (at 21:16 or 9:16 p.m., UT/+0 time) on the day after such an opposition may well merely mark a continuation of hostility or ill (hurt?) feelings. Why? Well, simply because the Full Moon is always a monthly moment of an emotional ‘high tide,’ whether such feelings are obvious or not. And that this Full Moon (i.e., Moon opposition Sun) will have the Moon exactly conjunct Mars at 1 Sagittarius merely adds to the idea of frustrations, irritations and all things ‘rash,’ be they emotional or physical … as well as the level of conviction we may feel about something or some stance (yours or that of someone else). 

Just don’t be surprised.

As for the degree of that Moon (and Mars), 1 Sagittarius is a degree known for its qualities of choice and the ability to discriminate between fine points – which for those who do get into some kind of verbal content may well mean you’re arguing some ‘fine points,’ whether important or not. There is a quality of sorting and ‘digging through’ which goes with this degree, along with the sort of motivation which ‘pushes’ us along some course of action or thinking which by its very nature tends to sort out which ‘group’ we belong in, whether we go to extremes or not (that’s individual – some will, some won’t).

Projection (i.e., blaming someone else for the very thing you’re most likely to be, have done or to have lurking in some crevice of your mind) is also going to be … or become a popular sport about now. Think of it after all … Gemini centers on all things mental, all forms of communication and everything we say or which gets said to us, so Sun in Gemini is the heart and soul of being conscious -- maybe even overly conscious or self conscious – where Mars-Moon in any sign is an image of ‘highly motivated feelings,’ or even emotional situations which we either initiate or which go so fast they’re hard to keep up with. In Sagittarius, such Moon-Mars efforts will either plunge or plow ahead, showing up any chink, vulnerability or dangling (incomplete) concept as it does so – whether that chink is ours or not.

Or whether we want to think it’s ours or not.

Then again, Sagittarius is a sign of learning – and thus, coming across the new, the untried, that which is ‘foreign’ to us (whether it’s actually “foreign” or not) and whatever ‘inspires’ us to do or learn or try something original.

Finger-pointing is therefore not entirely out of the question, now – but whether the aim of that finger is loaded with blame or the ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s of admiration is totally individual.

Full Moon at 1 Sagittarius (glyph chart)
May 21, 2016 -- 22:16 (10:16 p.m.) UT/+0 -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Full Moon at 1 Sagittarius (text chart)
May 21, 2016 -- 22:16 (10:16 p.m.) UT/+0 -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Moreover, while all that is remaining true as a ‘basic,’ this rather dynamic Full Moon is also part of a t-square with Pallas and royal star Fomalhaut at the ‘t’ (all in Pisces).

Actually that’s Fomalhaut, asteroid Hel, centaur Nessus and asteroid Pallas at the ‘t,’ a combination which suggests the need to – and the opportunity – to see where some emotional ‘grudge’ we’re packing is getting in our way either in real time or on a metaphysical level. 

All and all, it would thus seem to be time to do a little cleaning up of our emotional act. Enough with thinking everything is about everyone else, perhaps – if we are not enough of a priority in our own life to be honest with our Self about the truth (ugly or beautiful) of our feelings and motivations, why bother being honked off (or otherwise annoyed) with others?

Pisces is a sign which brings about that which shows us we aren’t as ‘bad’ (inept, etc.) as we might be scared to think we are. And Fomalhaut is the royal star which says success comes to us when (and only when) what we’re doing, who we’re being and the motivations behind our choices isn’t “corrupt” – the first (and maybe most important) metaphysical definition of which being that sort of ‘corruption’ which exists in who we are being when we don’t really know what our motivations are or what our choices are driven by or based on – not consciously, at least. So having Pallas – an emblem of intellectual (dispassionate) thinking which through offering us perspective helps us reach proper answers, solutions and understandings – conjunct Fomalhaut speaks to places ‘within’ us (or our immediate sphere of operation) where we aren’t essentially being honest with – or maybe even aware of our Self and that which truly drives and guides us.

And the need to get clear about such things, lest we stub our toe on the sort of unwillingness which itself is a form of vulnerability to fears.

Denials of various sorts are also being indicated by Black Moon Lilith entering Scorpio at 14:53 (2:53 p.m.) UT/+0 time on May the 21st … and with this much denial (or the tendency to not want to deal in truths) on the table at this very emotional moment, the question is whether this is when some sort of ‘denial’ is being employed in a current moment, or whether the current moment is all about some form of denial entered into long ago.

As for Black Moon Lilith, it’s an interesting symbol in that it’s a reference to something about our Self which others either do or don’t see very clearly, with this ‘see/not see’ now moving out of a sign where it would be part of, a cause of, or a tool in any given discussion (Libra) and into a sign (Scorpio) where everything is taken personally. 

Often too personally.

The reason for Scorpio touchiness is not precisely about others – it’s more about how we would feel if someone said ‘no’ to us, or rejected us. Scorpio issues go best (which is a relative term in Scorpio, a sign which in the end teaches that there’s a price for everything, good or not-so-good) where our own feelings and sense of (Taurus) self worth doesn’t feel like it’s on the line, but understanding that Scorpio is also the sign of desire, jealousy, revenge and all such not-so-‘live and let live’ qualities should tell us that in Scorpio, where things go bad they can go very bad. So there is some reason to be wary – even defensive where Scorpio is concerned, but as we come to that place, we should also try to recognize (if we’re not being too wary or defensive, that is) how our ‘state of readiness’ to take on whatever comes is not about anyone having done anything – the suspicion or wariness or paranoia or healthy sense of caution is our feeling, and thus it rises or falls based on OUR ability to manage our own insecurities and whatever reactions flow from there.

Black Moon Lilith (as opposed to asteroid Lilith) will be in Scorpio until February 14, 2017. During that time, there are going to be things about our relationships and how we are going about relating (or who we are choosing to be in a relationship with) which we are going to ignore, and whatever or why that is – that is going to either be/become a stumbling block, or the very thing which gets us past some disapproval, lack of support or limitation which, had we known about it (or recognized or ‘felt’ it), we might have been defeated by.

Black Moon Lilith thus becomes a blind choice: should I learn everything I can, or proceed based on my personal and total belief? Through having to take that blind choice, we will learn something about ourselves relative to the time(s) in which we live and the company we choose to – or are forced by circumstance to associate with. 

May 22 
As Mercury goes direct at 13:21 (1:21 p.m.) on May 22nd, things begin clearing up. Many of us – particularly those with any chart point, axis, angle or node within aspect (orb) of Mercury station degree (14 Taurus) – who have been waiting for clarifications, paperwork, information, decisions or other ‘works of the mind’ will find such things beginning to ‘loosen up’ and function better than they have been over these past few weeks of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury Direct (glyph chart)
May 22, 2016 -- 13 21 (UT +0) -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Mercury Direct (text chart)
May 22, 2016 -- 13 21 (UT +0) -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
And this is always true. Whenever we talk about planets being on station, going retrograde or going direct, it is those of us whose natal charts are aspected by the degree of the station who will experience the strongest effects in terms of ‘turnarounds’ or life ‘changing directions.’

In this case, we’re talking Mercury. And Mercury’s stations – particularly those which have Mercury turning to direct motion – are famous for revelations and finding that important last piece of information which so helps with the making of a decision. When Mercury goes direct, as it picks up relative speed (relative to Earth, that is) things which have been ‘up in the air’ or otherwise inaccessible during Mercury retrograde become that we can work with them and get results from – so while the station is highly important (take note of anything which happens during any planetary station) the idea and feeling that things are ‘loosening’ up and becoming more pliable or easier to negotiate will increase over a full week after Mercury’s station.

As for the astrological implications, the degree of this station (14 Taurus) brings up good times and a fine time for sorting things out or ‘putting pieces together’ whether we’re doing a jig saw puzzle, some detective work or otherwise attempting to create, understand or better appreciate some ‘bigger picture.’ Relationships and a desire to ‘relate to’ or work with others are said to be somewhat more polarized with 14 Taurus, so given how Mercury represents all things thoughtful, thought through, thoughtless or otherwise communicated, don’t be surprised if you (or someone else) either does something all by their very own lonesome which you would never suspect them -- or if some mild mannered soul suddenly goes all needy … or intent on ‘doing this by myself!!’ 14 Taurus is said to be very pro or anti associations and associating, so conversing should either be a relatively rewarding snap or not hardly worth the singled eyelashes (yours) it prompts, promotes and otherwise triggers.

(Just remember – the Sun is still in range of that Mars-in-retrograde opposition!)

Then again, no one should be surprised if the oddest (read: least expected) person turns up wanting to work, talk, bounce ideas around … all that. Either way and no matter which way anyone goes, malice is not involved – unless there’s a snarky, nasty Mars retrograde sort of thing going on.

Then …? Yes, things could get downright incendiary.

On the ‘up’ side (providing you have a philosophic streak), in going direct at 14 Taurus Mercury is doing so nicely in conjunction with fixed star Menkar and asteroid Bali – which to abbreviate this rather hugely represents some form of, or some facet of an individual and very personal search for the kind of happiness which we only achieve when we learn to face our Self, our fears and much of that we had hoped ... innocently or otherwise ... we wouldn’t have to deal with in regards to our Self, about some thing we've done or become -- or even about life as a whole (ours individually, if with implications for others included).

With Hidalgo turning to retrograde at 13 Aquarius on this same date, some part of our perspective will also be turning within. Taking Hidalgo at the keyword level we usually use with it, this means the idea of ‘manners’ and ‘mannerisms’ now turns becomes less of an external consideration than an internal one, suggesting some form of ‘detaching’ for an external measure, standard or means of measuring in favor of judging for our Self.

13 Aquarius being a degree which is tends to refer to (or rely on) that which either bolster our pride or which serves, services or supports something we are proud of … and Hidalgo also is likely to also surface as ‘the manner in which things are done’ which given 13 Aquarius speaks to the ability (or need to) be self-sufficient in the sense that self-confidence (‘pride in the ability to take care of one’s Self’) allows us to on a social or societal level.

But wait – there’s more! (I know …aren’t you excited?) This next celestial commentary comes courtesy of the discourteous energies of Tisiphone (representing the mythological Furies) as Tisiphone is going on station on the same day Hidalgo and Mercury are.

The keyword for Tisiphone is ‘fury.’ But as we say that, while Tisiphone may represent our fury at someone or something or being furious at our own ineptitude or some feeling of helplessness, ‘fury’ can also refer to the ‘fury’ with which something is done, as we say when the ‘furious’ winds of a tornado rip a house apart. In other words, fury (and thus Tisiphone) can represent an emotion, or an incredibly rapid rate – be that of activity, thought, or anything else.

As for the degree, Tisiphone is going retrograde at 1 Libra, thus signaling a possibly rapid change of circumstance, thought or way of going about things – all of which are simply part of 1 Libra, a degree also known for honesty and reliability, particularly when it comes to knowing what we want out of some relationship or situation.

At least as we go into it, that is.

Given the qualities associated with 1 Libra, Tisiphone’s station is likely to – in part – bring out or call attention to that which is too one-sided, requiring reorientation of perspective and method, if not necessarily a change of aims. Lore on this degree also talks about our wanting to interact successfully with others, though this aim can be so wrapped up in our own aims or perspective that results of efforts in this direction are unpredictable at best. Given the reputation black holes have for indicating moments when we suddenly come to see things from an entirely different perspective, Tisiphone’s station at 1 Libra as Mercury stations may mark a time when we also get clarity, yes – but it’s on our Self as we suddenly ‘see’ qualities or reasons why we’re not being as effective as we could be.

Given Mars in retrograde will differences or frustrations arise now which set off some sort of flurry of fury? With Tisiphone on station, it could – or we could be coming to understand why frustrations or conflicts have been coming up for some time now. Mars retrograde does incline us to blame others even when in our heart of hearts we know we could have done better, which really makes the ‘fury’ we now feel more about our being ‘furious’ with our Self than anybody else.

And no, we’re still not done. Being that Mercury (at 14 Taurus) is going direct in an inconjunct to Saturn (at 13 Sagittarius) and in a semi-sextile to Ceres (at 13 Aries) – which basically means Ceres is trine Saturn and neither are comfortably placed vis-à-vis Mercury – we are unlikely to like the limitations or requirements being laid before us at this time, even if we know they’re proper.

Mercury is also on station in trine to Jupiter and the North Node (in Virgo), which expresses, promotes and provokes the need to do the right thing and to expand on efforts in that ‘right’ direction. And since this Jupiter-Mercury trine is also being trined by Pluto-Vega in Capricorn, this is yet another variation on the grand trine theme-of-the-month, meaning such efforts are probably not ‘originating’ here, but are part of some ongoing and greater effort which has been going on for some time which in this moment relies on or favors questions of value and the notions of what is ‘valuable enough.’

There are a lot of (literal) moving pieces here, indicating a deal of energy and energized situations, choices and statements which are to be expected throughout the May 18-May 24 Mercury station ‘period,’ and with Jupiter (in Virgo, a sign Mercury rules) in opposition to Neptune, though we may be tempted to ‘work on dreams,’ only those which we approach and work on in a (Jupiter conjunct North Node) realistic and practical manner are likely to bear any worthwhile fruit.

With Venus – ruler of Taurus – influencing this station from a position in late Taurus (at 27 Taurus) there is some tendency to root for the ideal and not be as ‘practical’ as Jupiter-North Node is requiring. In particular, with asteroids Pax (peace, peacefulness) and Sphinx (endurance, enduring in silence) we may be content to ‘rest’ on some opinion or notion that someone is speaking or dealing with the truth when they aren’t, with the notion of some sort of ‘deceit’ being in the works indicated at this station by Mercury being in sextile to Neptune. They may be speaking in inspirational terms – Mercury/Neptune contacts can entertain or speak to moments of inspiration as easily as they point out moments when, whether the ‘lie’ is intentional or not, falsehoods are being spread. 

May 24 
Then, on May 24th, the last day of Mercury’s unofficial/official ‘station allowance,’ Venus enters Gemini.

Venus in Gemini (glyph chart)
May 24, 2016 - 9:46 a.m. (UT/+0) -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
 Venus in Gemini (text chart)
May 24, 2016 - 9:46 a.m. (UT/+0) -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
The time of this event will be 9:46 in the morning, UT/+0 time, and as Venus arrives in Gemini, Mars is still sitting on the other side of the zodiac at 1 Sagittarius, setting up a transiting opposition. Under every circumstance, Venus opposition Mars by transit will speak on an ‘ordinary’ level to being or becoming more energetic (perhaps even feisty) as part of some effort or situation. And the results of such motivations can be pleasurable, beneficial, rewarding … or frustrating, annoying or even hurtful.

But here, in a specific situation where Mars is in retrograde, the subject of all is ‘us’ – it’s about what we want or what we need to get done, or even a situational reference to our need to stop thinking solely in terms of pleasuring our Self in favor of doing something more productive.

This is the major influence under which Venus is entering Gemini … not that Venus in Gemini doesn’t have its own traditional aims. Under Venus in Gemini, interactions become useful for either their ‘rewarding’ nature – or even the content of the conversation. Everyone’s attention and attitude seem to ‘lighten’ somewhat, though with Mars in retrograde (and about to retrograde from Sagittarius into Scorpio) this isn’t an entirely ‘lighthearted’ time unless you are for whatever reason living a life of no constraints, no responsibilities and no aims.

As Venus is entering Gemini with Mercury (ruler of Gemini) having just gone direct, things may be a touch sluggish or complicated for the first week or so (through the end of May) where our Venus quotient (read: the desire to have things go our way) is concerned. And with Vesta sitting just ahead of Venus, the question ‘even if you can, should you?’ is bound to pop up or influence matters being discussed throughout this time. During Venus’ just over three weeks in Gemini (Venus will move into Cancer as of June 17th) curiosity is heightened – as is friendship, though with Mars retrograding in Scorpio as of May 27th (through June 29th) situational imbalances where one ‘side’ wants something more than the other ‘side’ does are likely. As Venus in Gemini favors conversation and fun, wit and humor, such approaches to interactions may well open doors – but with Mars retrograde during Venus’ 2016 transit of Gemini, we can’t expect doors to stay open unless we back up our ‘opening line’ with something of actual value or lasting appeal.

Venus and Anchises by William Blake Richmond
(c.1889-1890, oil on canvas, Walker Art Gallery)
And even where we do all that, we still may not make the progress we’d like to make – at least not in the shortest of short runs. With Mars in retrograde, what isn’t appealing now to someone may appeal to them somewhat down the line (when Mars goes direct), so while all may not work now, the seeds we plant now may take root in weeks to come. 

May 26 
Transiting Jupiter will square transiting Saturn at 12:29 p.m. (UT/+0) on May 26th, meaning this dynamic – the need to stress the balance between structure, preservation, effort, knowledge plus the stressing of each one of those qualities on their own – has been ‘coming upon us’ for a bit now. So what’s the perfecting of the square? That suggests that matters all around us as within us, whether they take the form of thought, act or intent are coming to some moment where a lot can get done … or something may be missed out on, eliminated or passed up, whatever such terms may mean in terms of your perspective on the world. Plus, with Saturn (in Sagittarius) still in square to the lunar nodes while also in opposition to fixed star Rigel (in Gemini) what we do or don’t know … or whether we think to share knowledge or resist the free flow thereof (for whatever reason), whatever part of that which we are each involved in is likely to manifest to us as some ‘lesson’ which holds the potential to enhance our possibilities, providing we are willing to exercise sufficient self-discipline to be/become receptive to that which we might otherwise be predisposed not to listen to, deal with, or see for the reality it is – and might well become in our life for good or ill.

Saturn’s ongoing square to the lunar nodes is -- and will continue to manifest as -- challenges in each and every one of our lives, asking us to confront our own sensitivities (and things we are sensitive to or about) through things we either do or don’t like relating to, through issues which come up through, or with regards to our various relationships in life.

This isn’t news: we’ve all been going through various forms of relationship testing (and situations which test our ‘relationship to relationships’) since Saturn came into transiting square to the nodes just as Saturn went retrograde this past March – with this transiting square continuing nicely along (or unpleasantly along, depending on how you feel about it) as both Saturn and the nodes retrograde onward, keeping very much in orb through Saturn’s turn to direct at the end of July.

This question of whether we are willing to work on ourselves as part of being in relationship(s) indeed continues on after Saturn goes direct until mid-November (2016), right after the U.S. presidential election -- and I do mean ‘right after.’ The election will be on November 8th (get out there and vote, U.S. citizens!) and Saturn’s square to the lunar nodes moves beyond the standard, Ptolemaic five-degrees-of-orb (to degree and minute) on November 9th.

Should electional pundits (or anyone else) care? Does this ‘affect’ the American election? Well, yes and no. Saturn having been in square to the Moon’s nodes throughout the heart of election season is certainly a sign of the difficulties which will (and already have been) encountered with regards to the (Sagittarian) theory of how elections should be run and not run, what the (Saturn) ‘rules’ are, and … bringing this into perspective as it applies to things during May … who in the electional process has either the (Jupiter) right or (Saturn) duty to do what (that being one manifestation of the Jupiter-Saturn square), plus the general (lunar node) relationship the process has with the people it is serving and how those people feel about that process, inclusive of its (Saturn) rules and (Saturn) limitation(s).

So yes, there’s a considerable bit of friction. And considering how this Saturn-square-node event was set off by last March’s solar eclipse at 18 Pisces (which conjuncted Chart USA’s descendant) … PLUS how Saturn’s recent retrograde station took place in the highly sensitive area just shy of the national IC (aka Nadir – the foundational or ‘bottom-most’ point in the chart) that points to a continuing conversation and agitation between everything being proposed by any ‘higher up’ and the general population which, while at its most intense during 2016, is going to continue through (and into) 2019 with some sort of shift or change of attitude, direction or basis of dealing with others indicated for late in 2018.

Saturn at the base of any chart on the 3rd house side of an IC -- national, individual or otherwise -- is a reference to serious matters having to do with one's 'standing' in the world, that 'standing' always having to do with the vertical (MC/IC) axis. Saturn natively being in Chart USA's 2nd house speaks to its values being the 'career work' of the country.

The USA, in other words, is a country created to work on its values -- and to value working on its values. With the natal Saturn in Libra, there is going to (of course!) be a tendency to talk to others about what they do, or to talk to others about the nation's values. As with many things Libra, there can even be a tendency to value the idea more than the reality (which will lead to instability-related problems) and honesty is always at issue. Saturn in Libra is Saturn in a sign of exaltation, which speaks to swings in national confidence and self-esteem.

And right now ... given how Sedna is in a long-term conjunction with Venus, ruler of that Libra Saturn (and the 2nd house Saturn rode into) ... the nation which wears this chart is having its values tested. Where we see Sedna, the challenge is two-fold: first we have to be willing to see something, and then we have to admit to our Self (or in the case a nation, the nation has to grapple with what it 'is' and is not) ... where ideas, ideals and choices don't work (in reality) the way we have 'always believed' they would.

So both Sedna and Saturn focus us on realities, if from very different perspectives. Being how Sedna is always about internal maturation, its transits aren't generally a cause for much individual leaping for joy ... which means we shouldn't expect its conjunction of pleasure-loving Venus to mark a particularly gleeful period in any nation's national doings.

However, there is good news. As of May 26th, Sedna iat 25 Taurus, which means give or take retrogrades it's already in the process of moving past Chart USA's Venus at 24 Taurus. So it will only take Sedna another ten years (or so) to get out of orb to Chart USA's national Venus (and out of an unpleasant growing pains period) to a place of more building, more stability and more stabilizing of achievements. But during that time, everything and anything required to cause America to (as a nation) learn what that lesson is and how to get beyond it (which according to the Sedna myth requires a letting go and succumbing to what you can potentially be (which empowers a greater good) instead of that you would like to think you are, which time has already shown doesn't work -- at least not as you thought it might.

And yes, ten years (or so) may sound like a long time. But what do you expect from an object which takes over 11,000 years to go once around the Sun? 

May 27 
As for Mars retrograding back into Scorpio, that shift (and accompanying change of attitudes and levels of focused motivation) begins at 13:52 (1:52 p.m.) on May 27th.

Once Mars retrogrades back into Scorpio, things are going to feel more intense – or you may interpret same as a more ‘focused’ vibe. Scorpio is Mars’ second home – it’s second sign of rulership, and also the sign of rulership it shares with Pluto, which if you’re into any or all things astrological is a thematic warning which, if we’re willing to take the proverbial (Taurus opposition) bull by the horns and do what we don’t want to do, can spell great changes and experiences of our own capacity.

In Scorpio, sign of passion, sign of control, sign of manipulation, emotions are everywhere – there’s just no escaping it. We feel life’s intensity. We feel whatever may be at stake – or there to be won. But at the same time, we also – instinctively – understand life’s various ‘threats’: the cost of what we want, and the possibilities which surround failing the attempt to achieve. In essence, this is the crux of the Scorpio dilemma: are we capable of proving to ourselves that we are capable? When planets transit Scorpio, we tend to feel the power of others. Or we simply react to the size or duration of what it would take to get past today’s challenges by criticizing the idea that challenges are out there. (How dare they be out there to challenge us!)

Mars retrogrades back into Scorpio (glyph chart)
May 27, 2016 - 13:52 (1:52 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
 Mars retrogrades back into Scorpio (text chart)
May 27, 2016 - 13:52 (1:52 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
But that’s not really the question. The question in all situations Scorpionic is not about ‘the other’ – it’s about whether we are willing to choose to put ourselves into any given situation, and how we will fare … most of all in our own eyes and regard … depending on how we do ‘in the mix’ and what we do while in that human fray. The lust and longing of Scorpio isn’t about anyone else, it’s about the desire to prove to our Self that we are capable, how in spite of our proverbial XYZ “weakness” (insert your favorite flaw) we can prevail, and how both we and others will lastingly remember how we acted and what resources we drew on (or failed to draw on) when things got (Mars in Scorpio) intense.

As we say all this, let’s remember – Mars is currently in retrograde. That means the issues we are being asked to take on are not those we have with others, but those which surround whatever qualities in our character, physicality or emotional makeup cause us to not be as successful as we could be due to some emotionally driven feelings we have about our Self.

Not that we’re all likely to be jumping into analytical mode or anything as Mars slinks back into Scorpio. As it happens, asteroid Lilith (not Black Moon Lilith) is stationing and going retrograde at 2 Aquarius on the same day that Mars slithers back into Scorpio, so just on the face of it, none of us are likely to be leaping to confess the errors of our methodological ways to anyone (least of all, our Self) as Mars re-enters Scorpio.

Why not? Because Lilith is the emblem of that we have purposefully ‘divorced’ in our Self. It’s what we don’t want to think about – and if you’re wondering if this is the same process as Pisces, that answer is no. With Pisces, the things we don’t want to feel (which end up being about our Self and our emotional makeup) are not anything we have ‘looked’ at, per se. In fact, far from it. Pisces is all about that we don’t know, as well as that which we either discover (much to our discomfort) and cope with or fail to deal with realistically, which leads to coping with a lot of consequences. As opposed to that, asteroid Lilith pertains to something about our Self we are aware of, and which we simply choose to cross off the list in a ‘no, that’s not me,’ manner whether or not anyone else can see we’re entirely out-of-touch with the truth. By and large, there is nothing particularly ‘wrong’ with whatever we are rejecting – whatever our Lilith is or represents, it’s as much a part of us as anything else.

It’s just that we’re not comfortable with how it works, so we tend to ‘divorce’ that part of our Self, an act which may well eliminate such energies from our conscious thinking, but which will always utterly fail to eliminate them from our life. Why? Because they’re part of who we are. Asteroid Lilith speaks to the universal tendency to try to be what we want by not accepting our Self and our reality (or facets thereof), which is never a very good plan.

As for 2 Aquarius, lore speaks of this degree as being one which is insightful – sometimes amazingly so. 2 Aquarius is also said to be very good at ‘cutting through’ whatever is cluttering up the conversation or otherwise clogging the pipeline. The Sabian symbol for this degree (‘A DESERTER FROM THE NAVY’) speaks to what we learn about our Self through the process of rejecting any ‘mainstream,’ with the reference to the Navy in part describes a militant and emotionally driven and which otherwise refers to a purposeful choice (which sounds very Mars-in-Scorpio-like) which teaches us who we are by refusing to be part of something we cannot support or bring ourselves to participate in, for whatever reason.

In astrological terms, having Lilith go retrograde at 2 Aquarius could thus work out several ways. We may be ‘jumping ship’ or someone else may be doing the jumping, leaving the other side to don our Sherlock Holmes outfits and use all that Mars-backing-into-Scorpio investigative power to figure out why. Or we may be involved in trying to understand why some thing or process or idea which has traditionally been so well accepted and supported as a point of collective pride is now being rejected or abandoned. 

May 30 
The last astrological notes for the month start with the North Node (the ‘should’ do side of the nodal equation) moving into 17 Virgo as of May 30th, from which position it will trine Pluto (at 17 Capricorn) to the degree, which automatically means the South Node will also be in aspect to Pluto, though it will be sextiling Pluto from 17 Pisces.

The idea here is about relationships or our ability to relate either bringing us to a place where our perspective on some relationship (or relationships in general) changes … or about this being a moment when relationship(s) change because of situational dynamics. It could even be that the other person (or people) in the relationship change their position on the relationship or the choice to ‘relate’ with us in particular.

And it’s not like this is happening out of the blue – or at least we would suspect it’s not ‘out of the blue,’ though that does depend on our individual attentiveness to such things. Why that would be, and why whatever the focus is here isn’t likely to be a surprise is simple: the nodes move rather slowly, so they’ve been in orb of aspect to Pluto for some months now.

One side of this is the North ‘should do’ side, indicating a relationship which should change, or how we would be better off changing our approach to relationships and relating on the whole, which seeing as the North Node is trining Pluto takes this side of the nodal question back to late January (2016). Nobody likes North Node work or North Node subjects, so most of us aren’t likely to be overjoyed when this trine going to work, effortlessly (read: without effort required on our part) altering some relationship or attitude towards relating in some manner which puts us into a position which makes it pretty clear we ‘should’ do something – and that something is probably rather 17 Virgo-like.

So what is 17 Virgo about? 17 Virgo speaks to attitudes about wealth and ‘privileges’ of all types -- financial, social, societal, familial, of perspective or position, of education or physical strength… (etcetera, etcetera). 17 Virgo also speaks very particularly to that which is gained or operated through mental means, as opposed to through physical work. So this may be a simple case of our needing to stop thinking about things in favor of doing them. Then again, 17 Virgo also presents us with a choice between using our mentality to con others and get our way … or to be the good listener and supporter, with there being pitfalls which go along with either choice when either is pushed to excess. 

Then there’s the South Node. The South Node indicates ‘the easiest thing to do’ and that we always feel best equipped to tackle. So its sextile to Pluto refers to an opportunity to make the changes indicated by the North Node … if also a more prevalent course or choice which is more of the ‘going along to get along,’ type, with the emotional ‘slack’ in such a choice being mostly – if not entirely (at least not that we would want to admit to ourselves…) -- about our not wanting to go through any emotional scenes or hassles.

As for 17 Pisces, 17 Pisces is a degree which is all about those abilities which turn into vulnerabilities when we lean too heavily on them and weaknesses which require us to depend on others even though any form of dependency will also require that we learn to balance our own need for help against the temptation to ‘play helpless’ even when we we’re not, or where we could try – but again, we’re not.

Being in sextile to Pluto, the South Node will only have been indicating such a tendency to kick considerations down the road (postponing the need to confront anything) since late April – from the 24th on would be the date on would be the date to cite.

Either way, this to-the-degree Pluto-Node connection will last through June 7, which just happens to be the date when Mercury exits the shadow of its April-May retrograde, ending the focus on certain issues which came into high (or at least higher) focus on or after April 14th.


And now, a few less than astrological notes…

In response to reader requests, posting times (as I’m guessing you know if you read astroPPM with any regularity) tend to be a couple of days before any ‘next month’ begins so you have time. That said, when events like Mercury retrograde occur precisely when a piece should otherwise get posted, I move the time as I’ve done here.

Time and existence always get the last say on such things, after all. 

Other than that, I’d like to thank everyone who has left a comment, sent an email or made a donation of late. Not that you’ve known, but I'm getting through fighting and recovering from an infection which hit this last New Year Eve, which plural rounds of antibiotics failed to kill and which here in late-ish April -- has finally departed. (I think.) So between feeling like I'd been run over by a large truck and trying to figure out how to wrangle the medical system, your comments, words and donations have supported me -- rather literally -- in body, mind and spirit.

Therefore, thank you! I'm grateful. It means a lot and I appreciate your support and just your being there. Existence hasn’t deserted me yet and neither have you ... and little do any of us recognize how, but the two sides of that statement are likely one and the same. 

So now I’m still here, still writing, still helping where I can -- and I'm grateful to those who let me know in whatever manner that you believe as I do, that such information as this should be commonly available. Not everyone will use it, of course, as real astrology requires that we confront things we don't like to think about and the contiguous nature of a time and existence which isn't as biased as we humans might like it to be ... but for those with the courage to look at the metaphysics of life instead of 'material evidence' as defined by this or that human society, there's a lot we can learn, and a lot we can aspire to once we see how much more we grow through testing our own limits as opposed to those of anyone else. 

As to the work, some things are just there to get done. We don’t do them because they make us happy or joyously fulfilled, we do them simply because they are ours to do, because we need to test our own capacity ... and because, in the end, we simply have the ability to do them.