|April is a month of blessings and challenges. Much was unearthed during the Mercury retrograde and now it’s time to work with the debris that is left on the surface after the tides have receded. Three planets go retrograde, and we move into a firm commitment with Spring.|
April 2 begins on a dreamy note with the Moon in Pisces conjunct Venus in the sign of her exaltation. Venus loves to be in this water sign where she can connect and express freely. We have a sense of being all one; a small but integral part of this glorious human family. The good times are strong with the ruler of Pisces, Jupiter, in his home sign of Sagittarius. The entrance of Venus into Pisces on March 26, gave us some sweet relief at the end of a trying Mercury retrograde. On April 2, Mercury conjoins Neptune for the final time, weaving in some final threads to the retrograde lessons.
Mercury retrograde in Pisces was one of the defining features of March (5-28). Pisces is the ocean and the outer planet Neptune is God of those waters. Many of us felt like we were being pulled under, and we weren’t sure if we’d re-emerge or where. Mercury retrogrades are periods of reflection, revision, and reordering; but Mercury is the trickster God. The journeyer who guides us through the subconscious, so these processes are non-linear. In ordinary life, we’re focused on details and progress, but Mercury retrograde brings our awareness into the larger whole by slowing us down and tripping us up. If we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we shouldn’t, we can enjoy the surreal experience of time melting a little. If we remain attached to the status quo and doing things the “right” way, these trimester sojourns can make us quite miserable.
The experience of Mercury in Pisces has been a long one. Mercury entered on February 10 and glided into a conjunction with Neptune on February 19. Depending on your inclination, this was like your mind being submerged in the dreamy, cosmic womb of the divine mother or the scary, psychedelic waters of the River Styx (some of us got both). Mercury moved to the last degree of Pisces, and stationed retrograde on March 5. From there, they began to move backwards through the sky, retracing their steps, but with a bit of mischief in their heart. On March 24, Mercury moved into their second conjunction with Neptune, and hung out there as they prepared to station direct on March 28. Mercury slowly began moving forward again, and will encounter Neptune for the final time on April 2.
Generally, Mercury retrogrades are times when conversations are continued and information is added. We’re shown where there are leaks in our boat and directions we could head that were hidden to us before. This Mercury retrograde has been an intense one for many of us. Personally, I had my laptop screen crack (the second time that’s happened in a Mercury retrograde since I started doing astrology–ha ha), and of course there were the typical technical errors, typos, delayed transactions, and confused details. Most significantly, old narratives of a difficult emotional nature resurfaced in our collective psyche. Mercury will remain in Pisces until April 17. Mysteries have been unveiled and changes have occurred, but it will take awhile to assimilate and embody this long strange trip. I’d love to hear how it went for you so drop me a line and tell me your retrograde story.
Mars broke free from stubborn Taurus and entered the freebird sign of Gemini on March 31. On April 3, he will sextile Chiron who’s begun moving through Mars’ home of Aries. The energy of Chiron in Aries is new, but the healing he’s bringing is long overdue. Aries is the sign of the warrior. The one who desires to demonstrate valor and courage, but who would rather go it alone and risk death, than compromise their ego and admit vulnerability. Chiron has come to treat both the symptoms and root cause of this patriarchal mindset. Collectively, we’re moving away from the ancient pattern of achieving security through dominance-over others, towards a model of power-with people. The Moon is with Chiron at the sextile, moving towards the Sun, so the energy of this transit is carried forward to the Aries New Moon.
Pluto is conjunct the South Node on April 4, which is also heavily influencing this Moon. Pluto is the God of the Underworld; creator and destroyer. He breaks things down so he can build them back up again. The cycle of death, decay, and rebirth are under his purview. Pluto transits often force us to change, transform, or take control of something that has gotten out of hand in our lives. Like the gorgeous and formidable Indian Goddess, Kali, he restores balance through decimation and regeneration. The South Node of the Moon, known as Ketu in Vedic astrology, is a place of fear and loss. It is a karmic position of attachment where we’ve brought in energy from past lives. April is a unique month because both Pluto and Saturn are conjunct with the South Node, which hasn’t happened since January 1985, when they all met in Scorpio. The combination of these planets in Capricorn means that we won’t be able to effort our way out of this configuration; although hard work will be required. In April, change may occur that is out of our control, and we won’t be able to alter the course. We’ll see and feel where we’re restricted, and though we might want to fight like hell, it’d be better to go slack and simply slide out of the bonds (like how they teach you in self-defense class).
The Aries New Moon is in a square with Saturn, the South Node, and Pluto in Capricorn highlighting themes of power, limitations, and what we’re up against. This Moon is showing us where we need to let go so we can break on through to the other side. Aries is a time of new beginnings; the ego that springs forth and says, I Can! Saturn is the law of karma that says, No, you can’t. Questions of why are not helpful in this situation. We’re all born with baggage. The best course is acceptance and a prayer to show up for your part. The seed we’re sowing at this Moon is one of surrender and strength through submission. What we initiate in the Spring carries through to the Summer Solstice (3 months), and all the way through the yang part of the year to the Aries Full Moon in October (6 months), but the Saturn-Pluto conjunction is in effect for all of 2019. The energy of this Moon will influence the entire astrological year until Ostara next March, 2020. Here is a ritual if you would like to consciously work with this energy:
Aries New Moon Ritual
Adorn your altar with red candles, spring flowers, and anything with rams or horns. Ground into Gaia, cast your circle, call in your deities and supports, and take a moment to consider where you are right now. Give thanks for what you’re grateful for, and be sure to include yourself for creating time for magic in your life. Look at the topics ruled by Aries and Capricorn in your astrological chart (if you don’t know you can email me ahead of time). Do a meditation or visualization on how those areas feel. Are they connected? How? Spend some time checking in with yourself, and then consider what you’d like them to to look like. How could they be harmonized and optimized? Ask the Divine to show you what ego patterns or belief systems are holding you back from being truly free or in your power. This is less about getting material things that you want and more about transforming how we relate to these concepts so there’s more grace and ease.
It does not have to be a long meditation or visioning, ideally 10-15 minutes but whatever feels right to you is best. When you’re done, write about what you saw or heard in your journal. Pay extra attention to the emotional qualities that arose or that you’d like to cultivate. If you’ve gotten an indication of something that’s ready to go or be surrendered, write it down on a piece of paper, and make an offering of that thing to whatever form of the divine you connect with (could be a formless one). Then burn the paper in your cauldron or other fireproof container of your choosing. If nothing came, no problem. The important part is that you brought your awareness to reside in the connection. More will always be revealed.
The second week of April brings closure around the Mercury retrograde process. Slowly moving forward, Mercury begins sorting through the debris. Venus goes over the chaotic waters with her magic wand, but even the goddess may get confused here. The week of April 7, Mercury sextiles Saturn, the South Node, and then Pluto. On April 10, Venus conjoins Neptune, clouding our perception of the emotional truth. Don’t believe everything you feel because with the Sun square Saturn things might feel worse than they are. The Sun is in angular configuration to the planets it conjoined in January. You may reflect on where you were at the start of the new year and what has changed over the last month. The reapings of winter may be apparent now or you may be given a clue about the next step on your path.
Jupiter stations retrograde on April 10, and will be backtracking until September 13. We’ve been blessed with his gifts and abundance, but that flow may be slightly constricted as he retraces his steps over the next five months. This is an excellent time to consider what you’ve expanded into since he entered Sagittarius in November 2018. The Sag part of your chart has been stretched. You’ve been challenged to grow, and now we ponder the why and the how. Jupiter rules teachers and attorneys. He facilitates learning and justice, and he’s powerful. If we take this time to consider our individual responsibility, when Jupiter stations direct in the fall we’ll begin moving forward with greater wisdom. The week of April 15 starts out on a lively note when Venus in Pisces squares Jupiter. Both are in places where they like to party so you may be tempted to take a personal day and enjoy some fun in the sun. If there’s no negative consequences then let yourself enjoy, but beware that the Moon in Virgo won’t like it if you shirk your responsibility.
On April 17, the entire world rejoices because Mercury moves into Aries just in time for the Libra Full Moon on April 19. I haven’t felt this glad since Mars left Aquarius last year. Enough is enough of the watery slog. The cardinal fire does a good job drying Mercury out, and they are in position with Chiron for the Libra Full Moon. This is the second Libra Full Moon of Aries season. The first occurred on the Ostara, the Vernal Equinox, when the Sun was at 00 degrees. The second occurs the day before the Sun enters Taurus at the 29 degree of Aries. What a bookend. What balance. With Mercury so close to Chiron, our minds are fully immersed in the wound that lingers here. The Sun is close to Eris, so we may feel the way in which our pain keeps us feeling separate and apart. This is a great day to purify through fire. Steam baths or saunas are a nice ritual to open up the pathways and get the toxins out. Time starts to speed up when we enter the solar time of the year. Reflect on how much has grown in just a month with the increase of light and heat.
On April 20, the Sun enters Taurus and Venus enters Aries. They can’t see each other, but they can feel one another because he’s in her sign and she’s in the sign of his exaltation. Taurus season is an earthy sensual time when we make real on the promise that burst forth at the equinox. The sign of the bull likes to buckle down, work hard, and revel in life’s natural rhythms. Taurus is tuned in the body’s clock and won’t rush for anyone. Venus in Aries adds some heat to our relationships, so even with the Sun getting grounded, our passions will be running high. Things aren’t all placid in Taurus country because the Sun immediately encounters Uranus on April 22, and Venus meets Chiron on April 23. We may seek a heightened sense of freedom and autonomy that week, and long to walk down the road less traveled. The meeting of Venus in Chiron could have us running from our wounds, but don’t gallop off into the sunset too quickly. Give yourself a couple weeks and see if the inspiration lasts before buying your tickets.
The intense Saturn-Pluto energy this month culminates at the end when Pluto stations retrograde on April 24, and Saturn does the same, conjunct the South Node, on April 29. These two are dangerously close to one another, activating the archetypal principal of power and control. Pluto empowers and intensifies Saturn’s impulse towards reaction and constriction. Together they believe might makes right, and advocate punishment for our own good. This configuration has implications for the United States of America in particular. The USA is a Cancer Sun, Aquarius Moon, and Sagittarius rising, and is going through it’s Pluto return, which only happens every 250 years (Pluto was in Capricorn on July 4, 1776). Saturn and the South Node are impacting the USA’s Pluto return, and many speculate what new rebellion against tyranny will be launched. Check the news to see how these elements play out in the collective through stories of religious fundamentalism, political conservatism, repressive violence, religious intolerance, and anti-environmental policies. Fear mongers may attempt to increase conformity and xenophobia through scare tactics. Over the next two years, we may see an increased attack on freedom of speech, religion, culture, and sexuality. With Uranus in Taurus, Gaia will certainly be fighting back against polluters, but they will still continue to try and exploit her. Let us all do our part by continuing to show up for the causes we hold most dear. All of us are essential; now more than ever.
P.S. The birth time of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was recently released and she is a Libra Sun, Aries Moon, and Sagittarius rising with Venus on her ascendent. Check out this article to read about the synastry of her chart with the USAs, and why astrologers predict she could be the first woman president.
The first two days of March belong to Venus as she departs Capricorn and the powerful forces she encountered there for the still space of Aquarian air. On March 1, Venus in Capricorn squares Uranus in the last dangerous degree of Aries. This dynamic tension may produce interesting results in your love life and creative world. Stay flexible and be spontaneous. The following day, on March 2, Venus enters the calm, cool, and collected fixed sign of Aquarius where she’ll stay until March 26. This transit lends relationships an analytical and detached vibe this month.
Venus also sextiles Chiron in the first degree of Aries on March 2. This passing note offers an indication of what the Chiron’s time in the cardinal fire sign will encompass. Chiron re-entered Aries on February 18, where he will stay for the next 8 years. Chiron reopens old wounds to allow in greater healing. The shadow of Aries is the ego: violent, selfish, and petty. We’re grappling with the results of this force unchecked in the collective. Chiron has arrived to bring a balm and shepard us towards greater expression of the healthy ego.
On March 5 the world turns upside down as Mercury stations retrograde for three weeks. Just kidding. It won’t be that dramatic, but it will be almost that dramatic. Not all Mercury retrogrades are created equal and this is one for the classic playbooks. Mercury is in their detriment in Pisces so we’ve already been at a disadvantage around communication, technology, and travel since they entered on February 10. This experience is similar to trying to find a penny you dropped in the ocean. You’ll probably find a bunch of other stuff, some great, some not, but even if you really look, you won’t find that coin. Neptune, the outer planet of psychedelic trips, is adding some additional haze to Mercury’s mind. The retrograde will last until March 28, and Mercury will station direct conjoined with Neptune. The combined effect of these bewildering influences is that March may feel like you’re trying to find a penny in the ocean while tripping on acid wearing flippers put on backward. Chances are you’ll fall down even in small waves. This is a great opportunity not to take life too seriously. What’s a plan or a deadline really? Things are only as important as we decide they are. If time is rubber then allow yourself to be stretched.
The Sun in Pisces will amplify these far out vibes with a conjunction to Neptune on March 6, the Pisces New Moon. This is a fertile Moon ruled by Jupiter in his home sign of Sagittarius, and an excellent night to set intentions you’d like to see come to fruition over the next six months. March 6 is not a chill day though, as the earth shaker Uranus will ingress into Taurus for a seven year stay. Wherever Uranus goes he brings innovation and upheaval. Taurus is a Venus ruled earth sign associated with all things Gaia: food production, money, animals, sexuality, and environmental stewardship. We can expect big changes in these sectors on a global scale. Uranus has an affinity for technology so expect an increase in debates over crypto currency, lab grown meat, and the global labor force. Check your chart to see where this energy is going to land for your personally, and then notice if there’s any activity around the New Moon.
Water facilitates earth the weekend of March 9, as the Sun sextiles Saturn in Capricorn, and we gain better perspective on what was initiated in early January. Mars in Taurus gets slippery with Neptune on March 10, and we lose an hour of sleep but gain some joy as the clocks spring forward. This is prime retrograde time so don’t schedule anything crucial if you can avoid it.
The week ahead is not light and fluffy, but full of potential. The Sun will square Jupiter and sextile Pluto on March 13 and Mars will trine Saturn on March 14. This energy came to work and does not play. It’s important to cut through the Neptune fog and have a plan because you’ll want to make the most of these days of power. Illumination comes at the end as the Sun conjoins Mercury, and our beloved messenger is reborn in the waters of eternity.
The seasons magically and mercifully change, once again, as the Sun enters Aries on March 20, initiating Spring. Aries is first sign of the Zodiac. Symbolized by the ram who crashes through the gates of winter. There’s a struggle to emerge inherent in the sign of the warrior. Aries asks, Who am I? And, indeed, we may all be wondering that ourselves, as we shake off the doldrums from our long winter’s nap. The Sun begins moving into a conjunction with Chiron that will perfect on March 22, so this Wiccan sabbat is rooted in the fiery healing of our wounds around identity. With the ruler of this Sun, Mars, in earthy Taurus, we may explore the connection between our consumer consumption and personal values this Aries Season.
The Vernal Equinox, known as the pagan holiday of Ostara or Eostre, celebrates life returning to the land. The Goddess has rested and is now renewed. The God has matured, and desire stirs between them. This is a young time of year, but one bursting with promise, excitement, and a passion for experience. The fields are greening and the Sun’s strength is gaining. Ostara is one of two sacred days of the year when there is perfect balance between day and night, dark and light. This is a time of beginnings, taking action, and planting seeds for future goals. Traditionally, pagans dyed or paint hard boiled eggs and then balance them on their ends to symbolize equilibrium. Part of this practice was incorporated into the Christian holiday with a similar name, Easter.
Appropriately, the Libra Full Moon takes place on Ostara on March 20. Libra is signified by the scales because it’s the sign of justice, harmony, and the collective good. This is an excellent night to work magic to rectify any imbalance in our lives. This Moon is ruled by Venus in Aquarius in a sextile with Jupiter in Sagittarius and a square with Mars in Taurus. This mixture of spiritual empowerment and healthy friction will point us towards what we need to harmonize in relationships and the resources we have to do it.
A RITUAL FOR OSTARA
Go to a green space and celebrate the life springing forth by noticing and appreciating each bud and leaf that you see. You can begin by grounding into Gaia using these video instructions. Walk in nature with no other intention than being present with her. Tune into each flower/tree/shrub you’re called to by approaching slowly and staying with it for several minutes. You can connect with its life field by intending to have your consciousness merge with its own. If you relax your eyes enough, you may be able to see the white outline of its energy field. Ask if the flower/tree has a message for you about Spring. Walk deliberately, aware of your steps and breath, collecting your missives from nature. Bring a journal to record any words or images you’d like to capture. Make this walk a ceremony in reverence of life: yours, Gaia’s, and every being that you encounter.
If you can’t get outside, you can work with the earth by planting an indoor magical garden in a box. Imagine you’re planting qualities you’d like to grow in your life with each bean or seed you press into the soft brown dirt. Or, make a sacred meal out of seeds, sprouts, nuts, leafy green veggies, and salad with flowers. Thank Gaia and the thousands of hands that brought the meal to your plate. See if you can sense through smell, taste, and vibration the unique life force of each food.
Mercury will conjunct Neptune on March 24, as they slow down and prepare to station direct on March 28. The worst is over by that point, but we have yet to reach the shore. Expect to feel the ripples of this retrograde for longer than usual.Venus enters Pisces, the sign of her exaltation on March 26. Normally this is an unequivocally lovely time, but adding Venus to this bubbling cauldron may improve things or cause you to feel it more deeply.Mercury will conjunct Neptune for the 3rd and final time on April 2, and will not move into Aries until April 17. Splish, splash, we’ll be in this befuddling bath for nearly another three weeks.
The month closes out with Mars entering the mutable air sign of Gemini on March 31. Life takes on a quicker and more dynamic speed as he moves into an opposition with Jupiter. There’s still a lot of heavy earth in the mix, but we’re planning what we’re going to make with it.
Ostara Blessings to all of you!
Ostara Goddess by Helena Nelson-Reed
September is here, we’re winding down from the intensity of the Summer of Retrograde, but it won’t be Fall for another two weeks. August was something of a torrid scorcher, no? The final heatwave at the end was a fun reminder of how hot and uncomfortable the Sun can make us. Even my cats were complaining. Of course, Mars was helping. The hot and dry red planet has been at maximum brightness all Summer, and is the second closest to the Earth that he’s been in 60,000 years (the actual closest was in 2003, and he won’t be that close again until 2287). Mars stationed direct at his exalted degree of 28 Capricorn on August 27, which set us up to start September on better footing than we’ve been since he went retrograde on June 26, but he’s still moving slow in the sky right now, and the themes explored during the last two months of his backwards motion will be active through October.
Our beloved trickster, Mercury, was retrograde in Leo from July 26-August 19; the trouble caused during this period would have been a bigger deal if everyone hadn’t just been trying to survive the eclipses. Getting trapped in airports with flights delayed, cancelled, and rerouted, or losing luggage and having to buy all new gear, these were minor inconveniences compared to what other people were going through. It’s really all about perspective and hopefully this Summer grew your patience, stamina, and compassion.
Mercury has been in Leo for a long time, since June 29, and on their way out the door, they’ll blow Venus in Libra a parting kiss on September 3. On this day you’ll be able to share your thoughts and feelings with adroitness so use the moment well. It’s a great time to enjoy the company of friends by taking in the theater or having a spirited debate over dinner. Mercury zips into their exalted home sign of Virgo on September 5, and enters into a conjunction with Athena, empowering our speech and mental alacrity throughout that weekend.
The push forward continues when Saturn in Capricorn stations direct on September 6, adding emphasis to the grand earth trine with Mercury in Virgo and Uranus in Taurus that we’ve been feeling for several weeks. Saturn is known as the Lord of Karma or Lord of Time, and his entrance into his pragmatic home sign of Capricorn on December 19, 2017, was a much anticipated astrological moment. Wherever we find Saturn, we find the need for commitment, hard work, and perseverance. Saturn will be in Capricorn until December 2020, so we have another 2.5 years of slowly building in this area of our lives (look to the house Capricorn rules in your natal birth chart to see where this will affect you personally). On a large scale, expect this transit to cause both a hardening of rules and boundaries and a dismantling of unjust systems and processes. The humanitarian crisis happening on the US/Mexico Border with government officials separating children from their parents and holding them in for-profit detention centers, and the resulting demand for immediate immigration policy reform has been one prominent manifestation of Saturn in Capricorn.
If you have a brilliant idea that must be shared make sure you consider all the angles on September 7, when Mercury trines Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Capricorn, and the Sun in Virgo is opposed to Neptune and Pisces. People are going to want to know how you intend to carry out your grand plan before they’ll believe you can make it work. There’s a hint of confusion in the air so it might be a good time to dream alone with your sketchpad before bringing anything to the table. The best strategy may be to root down into what you wish to manifest by keeping it a secret for the moment.
Venus has been in her airy high tower of Libra since August 6, which helped to cool down hot tempers, but a bit of passion flares at the end with a square to Mars on September 8. This is a great day to go for what you want. Show up in the world as your most beautiful and best self to attract in what you most desire. Reception is just as powerful as action, so call forth what you wish to conjure, but don’t get mad if it isn’t delivered right away. Things are going to get a bit more murky the following day, on September 9, when Venus descends into the deep, dark waters of Scorpio where she’ll remain for the rest of the year. It’s going to be a very Scorpio Fall, so don’t be surprised if your love life gets a big dose of ardor, obsession, intensity, and transformation in the coming months. Venus will enter her retrograde period on October 5; we’ll have both the active and reflective wisdom of the Scorpio teaching us about love, sex, death, healing, and everything in between for the remainder of 2018.
You may have been on a cleaning spree since the Sun entered Virgo on August 23. Virgo season is a time to get organized and clear; make sure the sacred spaces in your home get wiped, dusted, and blessed, if they haven’t already. This mutable earth sign, symbolized by the harvest maiden, is spiritual because she values and creates G.ood O.rderly D.irection. The Virgo New Moon on September 9, is opposed by Neptune in Pisces and in a trine with Pluto in Capricorn. The nature of Virgo is to appear as having it all together all the time, and it’s her preference to believe that’s really true, but this Moon may bring visions and desires knocking on the door that don’t fit in with her perfect plan. The power of vulnerability is that once we have acknowledged and grappled with what is challenging to reconcile, we don’t have to fear or ignore it anymore. The struggle to self-actualize is real, but Mercury in Virgo can help us integrate the emotional wisdom of this Moon into the mental realm, making us more effective agents for change.
We’ll get another taste of earth sign rebellion and restriction on September 12 when Venus moves into an opposition with Uranus and a sextile with Saturn, while Jupiter, co-present in Scorpio, sextiles Pluto in Capricorn. Thankfully, the discerning insight of the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena, in Virgo, is helping Venus make sense of these contradictory elements and impulses. You may receive guidance about the kinds of changes you need to make internally to have the kind of relationship you want to have with others. If there’s power plays going on at work, make sure you have the support you need at home to feel secure on the job.
Mercury enters Libra on September 21, and the following day, the Sun departs from Virgo, officially ending Summer. The Sun’s entrance into Libra, the sign of it’s fall, on September 22, initiates the start of a new season: Fall. The Sun is exalted in Aries at the Spring Equinox, the beginning of the time of the most light in the year. The Autumn Equinox marks the transition to the dark period when the Sun is in his decline and night is longer than day. But on the first day of both Aries and Libra, at the 00 degree point, there is a space of balance, a moment of harmony in the world with equality between dark and light, day and night. It is an excellent time to walk in nature and pray for peace.
The Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, as the Gaelic pagan festival is known, is a time to thank Gaia, Goddess of the Earth, for the harvest’s gleanings and turn our attention to preparing for the transition to the cold period. In mythology, the solar God further recedes, reading to leave his body at Samhain, Halloween, on October 31. In this momentary evenness before the waning light we may consider what has grown in our lives since March 20? If you set intentions at the Vernal Equinox, what has come of them? Take a moment to appreciate the growth, however miniscule. Thank yourself and the universe for what you’ve created together in the past 6 months, and for the truths that’ve been revealed, even if you weren’t seeking them. Let your heart be full remembering all you have received. Set new intentions for the coming shadowy time of the year, and be sure to include a radical relationship with fiery healing and deep commitment to mental health and wellbeing. No one can survive winter on their own, so make sure community is well featured in your plan.
The Aries Full Moon on September 24, amplifies the Equinox energy into our bodies as the Sun in Libra is in a T-square with the Moon and Chiron in Aries, and Saturn and Vesta in Capricorn. This lunation is ruled by Mars who won’t clear his retrograde shadow until October 8, so we may not be feeling in our full glory at this time. But we don’t value the things we win easily as much as those we struggle to achieve. There is a philosophical mood to this Moon. Humans are drawn to astrology and other forms of divination not just because they help us understand when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, but because they remind and reassure us of the Divine love present in all moments that can help us to face the world, good and bad, with equanimity and grace.
Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
Virgo Art: Ryland Smith
Welcome to Cancer season. The summer has truly begun and the Sun is bright in the sky, but July is marked by retrogrades and eclipses. In order to understand these powerful cosmic moments of slow down and speed up, we need to examine the mythology and history of the planets involved in the astral dance we’re witnessing.
The month starts on a spicy note when Mercury, the God of Communication, enters Leo, on June 29, and immediately squares Uranus, letting us know communication is going to be heated for a while. The Sun is in the watery sign of Cancer, illuminating our need for healing on a collective and personal level. We want to be especially mindful of our speech on July 5, when Chiron, the wounded healer, stations retrograde in Aries, while the Sun trines Jupiter in Scorpio, and Mercury opposes Mars in Aquarius. It’s going to be a day with big feels and even bigger words. The medicine of this moment may go down better with a teaspoon of sugar, but we’re more likely to pour gasoline on the whole thing and light a match.
Chrion’s movement from placid Pisces into firey Aries in April signaled a shift in the way we approach healing. Chiron was a centaur, half-man half-horse, who was disowned by his parents, Saturn and Philyra, and mentored by Apollo and Artemis. Renown for his wisdom as a teacher and skills as a healer, he was credited with the discovery of botany and pharmacy, but sustained a wound that even his knowledge was unable to remedy, and was in such anguish that he begged to be made mortal so he could die. With Chiron in Aries, we’re experiencing an urgent call to action around our deepest wounds, and the retrograde period until December 9, is an invitation to consider how and where we enter this work. Our challenge is to approach these painful places with devotion and a true heart without flaming too bright and trying to run roughshod over our tenderest parts.
Venus enters Virgo on July 9, and our aesthetic sensibilities turn towards the earthy and refined. The perfectionist impulse of Virgo is best channeled towards art and beautifying your home, rather than trying to “fix” yourself or anyone else. The following day, July 10, Jupiter’s retrograde ends, and he stations direct in Scorpio. Getting access to the full power of the great benefic lends much needed assistance to our navigation of the catalytic eclipses that begin shortly thereafter.
Last year, the “great American” total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, at 29 degree of Leo, inspired millions of people to migrate to remote areas of the country to witness an astronomical event. Whether or not those pilgrims believe in astrology, they responded to a primal instinct that it’s a big deal when the Moon causes the light of the Sun to be completely obscured on earth, so they joyfully organized their precious summer vacations to drive hundreds of miles (sometimes after flying thousands) to stand in the middle of a field with strangers and stare up at the sky wearing flimsy plastic glasses. The draw of the eclipse signaled a shift in our collective consciousness. There was a public demonstration of consensus that the connection between the stars and human lives can be felt in our bodies. The next total solar eclipse in the USA is not until April 24, 2024, but an eclipse is not a rare event.
There are two eclipse seasons a year with up to three eclipses per season. Yet their power is mighty, their cycles complex, and their significance contested. The Leo/Aquarius eclipse cycle that began on February 10, 2017, shortly after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, and will continue through January 2019, is an exploration of who we are as a collective and what it says about us as individuals. The impact of the August 2017 eclipse was highly debated ahead of time by astrologers because it fell on Trump’s ascendant, and cast the biggest shadow across the states that popularly supported his candidacy. Eclipses have always held great significance for heads of state, and many predicted the energy would either bring about his political downfall or solidify his power. A solar eclipse creates a container that is most powerfully felt for the next 6 months, but can have reverberations for the next 19 years.
This summer we have a trifecta of eclipses spanning July and August, and the first is a partial solar eclipse at the New Moon in Cancer on July 12. This eclipse initiates a new cycle between Cancer-Capricorn, triggering dynamics between archetypes of the loving mother and stern father, that will continue to play out over the next three years. This New Moon is opposed by Pluto, which can bring a frightening depth, but let that heaviness facilitate a deeper plunge into Cancer’s healing emotional waters.
A brightness returns when the Sun enters it’s home sign of Leo on July 22, and our spirit is inspired to shine out. Take time to appreciate yourself and those around you for the light and love they bring to your life. Remember to lay in the soft grass or warm sand and absorb the healing rays of the biggest luminary in our galaxy. The Sun will trine Chiron and square Uranus on July 25, reminding us that sometimes we have to break with the past to move into the future as the people we’re meant to become. Mercury stations retrograde on July 26 until August 19, emphasizing our origin story, and what is required for our spiritual evolution around issues of family, roots, and ancestry.
The biggest event of the month comes at the end with the Full Moon in Aquarius total lunar eclipse on July 27. This blood Moon is with Mars and squared by Uranus, so the impulse may be to radically cut away all that which is holding you back. However, hold off on making any drastic decisions around interpersonal dynamics or health issues until this martial energy has been fully integrated. People will probably be having a hard time in the days leading up to and following, so make sure to practice compassion for yourself and others. Try not to say anything you can’t take back, but if you don’t act your best, remember that a sincere apology coupled with a change in behavior goes a long way to mending rifts. Offer whatever you’d like to compost in your life or the world up to the purifying flames of Chiron in Aries, and ask Saturn to help you dedicate to a practice to be the change you want to see in the world.
The energy of July is like fireworks. Bright bursts will light up our lives and pass away quickly. Allow yourself to appreciate what is beautiful, and regard the drama with a healthy detachment, but don’t get distracted from that which is yours to do. There is more to come in August, and we need to pace ourselves in order to keep up with this summer that wants us to grow as fast and abundantly as the crops in the field. Take it step by step, and you’ll harvest a bounty in the fall.
We glide into March on the seas of love and dreams with Juno, the Sun, Neptune, Mercury, Venus, and Chiron all in the water sign of Pisces. It’s an emotional full house. With Venus sitting close to Chiron that first week, don’t be surprised if old hurts resurface for no apparent reason.
The usual response from our rational mind is to push away such feelings, but logic is no buoy in this deluge. The tide is too high. We need to put on our goggles and go diving. These particular memories are surfacing from our subconscious because we are ready to release them on a deeper level. Ask what they came to share, thank them for the wisdom of their teachings, and then send them back into the abyss to be transformed into something new.
The Virgo full moon on Thursday, March 1 (Happy Purim!), offers an earthy, grounding respite to the flood. We may finally feel like we’re back on solid land, if only for a night. Virgo is a detail oriented analytical sign, so take full advantage of this energy by working on a task that’s been needing your attention. Writing projects may feel particularly inspired. Don’t worry if you don’t finish though, Virgo would keep you trapped at your desk, and Thursday night is too sweet to miss. Enjoy connection through communication, creative arts, and nourishing meals. The moon in earth sign Virgo wants you to take care of your body and treat it right, whatever that means to you.
The Pisces new moon on Saturday, March 17, is an excellent time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the past month from all the emotional upheaval. The goal of Pisces is to commit to a vision or ideal. What dream does your heart sing to you? Whisper this goal, no matter how lofty, to the new moon. You may be amazed at what seeds sprout because spring is just around the corner.
March 17 is also St. Patrick’s Day, which commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. For many modern witches, the legend of St. Patrick driving out the snakes from Ireland is a metaphor for the banishment of the ancient goddess worship of the divine feminine. Although many pagan practices were outlawed, much of the old traditions were incorporated into new rituals. The custom of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is connected to the celebration of the rites of spring.
Pisces closes out the winter, and in many places, the thaw has already begun. The sun moves into Aries on Tuesday, March 20, at the spring equinox, initiating the beginning of the zodiacal new year. The vernal equinox is one of the two days of the year when there is a complete balance between night and day, light and dark. It is a perfect time to take a walk in nature and meditate on the changes you feel in the air. This is also the Wiccan sabbat of Ostara, the fertility festival celebrating life returning to the land. Eat and plant seeds literally, metaphorically, and most of all joyfully, all day long.
By the end of the month, all the inner planets will have moved into fire and earth signs and we may feel quite a different tempo from the beginning. There is a blue moon on March 31 with the full moon in Libra that should provide some much needed fresh air. Blue moons don’t have astrological significance but simply connote the second full moon in a month. Libra is the sign of justice and equality, and this moon may illuminate the progress we have made in these areas, both individually and collectively, since Jupiter left the sign in October 2017.
March is a month with two distinct sides and personalities. Take these big lunar moments to reflect and pause, and if you ever feel lost, just look up.