|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.
Power and change is in the air. Everyone feels it. The news reports on various manifestations: the good–more people are identifying as empaths and getting in touch with their spirituality through paganism than ever before, and the deeply troubling–fascism and xenophobia are on the rise in governments throughout the world from Brazil to Russia and here in the United States. This challenging moment of uncertainty, heightened sensitivity and connection by some and a doubling down on separation and violence by others, has deep roots. The current expression is related to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn that we’ve been feeling since last Winter, which will culminate in a year, from December 2019-January 2020. This epochal alignment is the overarching context we’re operating within for the next two years. To understand what this means for us as individuals, we need to look at how this has historically manifested in the collective because the movements of Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto define generations.
Saturn is the planet of strict authority, hard limits and boundaries, sufferings and hardship, and necessity and finality. With his many rings, he likes to constrict and deprive. Before humans had telescopes to view the heavens, Saturn was the last planet visible with the naked eye. As such, he’s associated with the endings of things. Pluto is associated with the God of death, the underworld, and the riches that lay beneath the Earth. He’s raw power and evolutionary transformation, and has the ability to empower and intensify whatever he touches. Pluto and Saturn come together every 31-37 years. Their combined energy brought us some of the most difficult periods of the last century: World War 1, World War 2, and September 11, 2001. Moments of contraction, characterized by international crisis and conflict, that each brought about the end of an era. In his book, Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas describes the archetypal Saturn-Pluto complex as tending “to constellate a widespread sense that one’s life was determined and constrained by large impersonal forces…too powerful to and dominant to be affected by the individual self. This sense of vulnerability was in turn regularly matched by a drive for power, control, and domination” (210). Capricorn is Saturn’s home sign of structure and security that desires to create firm foundation from which a mighty empire can grow. Astrologers have been speculating how the Saturn-Pluto conjunction will manifest in Capricorn as the cold earth sign does nothing to temper Saturn’s force, but rather exacerbates his autocratic impulses.
We’ve already seen an emphasis of this energy in 2019. The year began with a Saturn-Sun conjunction on January 2, the Capricorn new Moon partial solar eclipse on January 5, and the Sun’s conjunction with Pluto on January 11. Consider what was going on for you during those days for an indication of your personal experience with this power. Mars and Venus are going to set off these points in February, which will be especially pronounced for those with planets in Capricorn or any cardinal sign (Aries, Cancer, and Libra). If all of that feels a tad ominous, it is (feel free to call me with your feelings about it late at night because I’m already up thinking about it), but it’s not the only major alignment at play.
The month starts on February 1, with Mars well dignified in his home sign of Aries, moving into a conjunction with Uranus, and a square with Pluto. This Mars square may add some extra emphasis to the Saturn-Pluto experience, but it’s also highlighting the end of the Uranus-Pluto square that’s been with us since 2010. If Pluto with Saturn closes things down, Pluto with Uranus breaks things open. The revolutionary emancipatory impulse of Uranus in Aries coupled with the transformative power of Pluto can be credited with much of the radical social justice movements that emerged in the last 8 years: the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, increased immigrant rights, and greater freedom and liberation for the transgender community. Uranus takes 84 years to cycle the Sun, so this is the last time he’ll be in Aries in our lifetime after moving into Taurus on March 6.
In considering a long view of history, we see progress is commonly followed by backlash. The visibility of issues and concerns that were long ignored by the mainstream is a tremendous step forward. Yet those who’s fragile egos are threatened by these changes are attempting to take us back to an earlier era, to make America great again, because Saturn rules old age and creates nostalgia for the past. We see the Saturn-Pluto archetype writ large in people who cast themselves as victims and compensate for feeling vulnerable with violence and repression. But their fearful hate can’t negate the progress of the last decade. We’re a global society, more connected, organized, and informed than ever before. This Mars square hits on the ongoing negotiation within us personally and collectively, demanding we consider where we feel powerful and disempowered, free and confined, open and unallowed, evolving and stuck. The strong drive of Mars can give a nice boost to whatever area of your chart is ruled by Aries, but there’s a tendency to go too hard and an impulse to fight too much. The best use of Mars is to direct him towards a task, so be clear about what you want to achieve and watch him make it happen.
The following day, February 2, Venus is highlighted in the conversation as she makes a trine to Uranus from Sagittarius. This is an anarcha-feminist riot grrl kind of energy that has the potential to bring topics relating to the emancipation of the Divine Feminine to the forefront. Venus is often active on the Witches Sabbats, and February 2 is the pagan holiday of Imbolc, also known as Candelmas, Brigid’s Day, or mid-Winter. The ground is frozen but the light is gaining in the sky. The warmth fertilizes the Earth and we look for signs of the Goddess stirring from her slumber in the tentative hints of Spring.
Imbolc is traditionally a festival of torches when we reflect on the illumination from within and the inspiration from without. We give thanks for having stayed warm enough to survive the cold and remind ourselves that Spring is around the corner. One way to celebrate the increasing power of the Sun on Imbolc is to light a candle in each room of the house. Some pagans enjoy wearing a crown of lit candles on their head, but I’ll leave it to you to decide what’s safe in your space and for your hair. If there’s snow on the ground, you can remember the warmth of Summer and draw images of the Sun in the snow to remind your neighbors. I did this one year at a park after a formidable series of blizzards, and everyone appreciated it and started drawing their own. Witches inspire others to remember their magic so give yourself permission to play.
Imbolc ritual for self-dedication using candle magic: Decorate your altar with snowdrops and a Brigid’s cross (fun to make ahead of time). Cast your circle, light yellow, orange, and/or red candles and gaze into the flame. As you do, visualize your life bursting with vibrancy and creativity. Like the Goddess, you’re also being refreshed and renewed during Winter, but soon new life will spring forth. This is the quickening of the year, when spirit enlivens form. See it in your mind’s eye as if it’s already true. Believe in it and affirm it everyday from now till Ostara. Draw a picture or visually represent it to yourself in some other way. Some people like to create a poppet or Brigid’s doll. Carry that token with you or keep it on your altar for the next 7 weeks. So mote it be.
February 3 is a great time to move towards what you wish to manifest when Mercury sextile Jupiter. Business and communication are favored, and it’s an ideal day to make plans and create systems. Jupiter wants to expand your mind and Mercury is the key so let your imagination run wild and your spirit soar. Venus enters Capricorn on February 3, lending some grounding to the day, and further immersing herself in the power-play dynamics of Saturn-Pluto. Venus in Capricorn wants to make sure our relationships work for us, that they enable us to be our truest, most fulfilled, and productive selves. Over the month Venus may test your partnerships to see if they measure up, but only because she wants the very best for you. This is a strong, sensual, earth Goddess Venus who’s not going to allow you to settle for less.
The Aquarius New Moon on February 4, has a nice sextile from Jupiter and will continue the theme of forward looking innovation. We’ve finally concluded the eclipse cycle along the Leo-Aquarius axis that lit up those areas of our charts for the past 2 years. If it felt like there was a lot of loss in your Aquarius sector of life, this is a beautiful time to set intentions for a new beginning (feel free to email me if you’re not sure where this is for you). February 7 is a favorable day when the Sun sextiles Jupiter and Mercury sextiles Mars. Success is yours so if you’re feeling lucky go for it. I don’t know what it will be for you, but you will!
Mercury enters Pisces on February 10, beginning a lengthy swim through a psychedelic pond that will last (gasp!), until April 18. During that time they’ll encounter Neptune (the swamp monster!), multiple times over. Neptune isn’t actually a monster, but he is a confusing, disorientating, and, at times, debilitating influence. Mercury is in their adversity in Pisces, and will go retrograde there on March 5, so by the time it’s all over we may say, what a long strange trip it’s been. This is going to be a lazy, hazy couple of months, which means if there’s stuff you need to get done perfectly, do it now.
Mars conjuncts Uranus on February 13, but the volatile energy will build throughout the week. The best advice is to expect the unexpected and try to control yourself. Be careful when operating heavy machinery and avoid rash behavior or rushed decision making. This is a good day to begin an innovative project or express yourself individually, just be sure to play it safe in all arenas. Valentine’s Day may have a sharp edge this year thanks to Mars entering Taurus on February 14. Mars likes to fight and is in his adversity in the Venus ruled sign of love, beauty, pleasure, art, nature, romance, and sensuality. Mars will be there until April 1, so take the next 6 weeks to commit to what you’ve started because Taurus is faithful and enjoys hard work. Venus sextiles Neptune on February 17, which feels like a cosmic love letter, and will make for a better date night if you want to postpone romantic stuff for a few days.
The Venus-Saturn conjunction on February 18, curbs the dreamy influence and brings everything into the harsh light of day. If you find yourself feeling alienated or alone, reach out to those you trust. Conversations may feel somber but remember to give yourself the tenderness you need that may not be available from others. The Sun enters Pisces on February 18, moving us into the final sign of Winter, and two-thirds of the way towards Spring. Pisces is an emotional, intuitive water sign, ruled by Jupiter, that pertains to the formless and mysterious nature of God as embodied through the ocean. The Sun in Pisces incubates in the embryonic waters of life, gestating in the wisdom of all that is and the potential of all that could be. This is the final trimester before the rebirth at the Spring equinox when the Sun ingresses into Aries, the sign of it’s exaltation. Whatever you’ve been holding inside may begin pouring out, but do no be ashamed of your leaky body. Revel in the healing available from the baptismal waters of Pisces, especially if they burst forth from your eyes.
The Virgo Full Moon on February 19, is all fogged in due to the Mercury-Neptune conjunction on the same day. The Moon is in a trine with Mars in Taurus indicating there’s something to build, but it may be of a spiritual nature. Mercury is also making a sextile to Saturn, which provokes a desire for self-improvement and tendency towards exaggerated critique. However, due to the Neptunian influence it will be hard to see things clearly. Virgo does not suffer confusion gladly so this is more an opportunity for surrender than it is for control, which is a challenge for the mercurial earth sign. Dedicate yourself to what’s tangible and real, and appreciate the internal changes that have occurred since September.
Mercury squares Jupiter while Venus conjuncts Pluto on February 22, adding emotional intensity and depth to the weekend. You may confront the obstacle in your path or watch it be blown to bits. Passions will run high, but so will obsession and jealousy. Pay attention to who enters your life during this time and wait at least a few days before running off with them.
February is a short month but it’s packed with intensity. Please let me know how it goes for you, especially with all things Saturn and Pluto. Blessed be.