Might be good to have a little primer on Mars about now – his passion for action is going to be driving us for a while. The new lunar cycle during this period has a significant Mars imprint with both the New Moon and the Full Moon in this phase conjunct the planet that basically is, in Dane Rudhyar’s words, the wellspring of vitality. In fact, the Sun and Mars will be in orb of conjunction through the middle of July adding a vigorous Martian quality to all the Sun’s interactions. Traditionally, Mars is about what we want and how we go about getting it. Movement is especially important, as is unfiltered expression. There is no Libra-esque diplomacy gene anywhere in the pure Mars profile. Mars is assertive, or aggressive, depending on the other planets influencing his action, not to mention the point of view of the being on the other end of the Martian stick. Most, if not all, successful athletes have a dominant Mars in their charts, or Aries, which is the sign ruled by Mars. This could be said for dedicated military personnel as well. Archetypally, Mars is a fighter and a hero. He instinctively takes a machete to carve out a path through the jungle of life. He breaks down walls… well maybe not for you, but certainly for the sheer pleasure of forging new ground. He is the pioneer, courageous and daring. He will gladly go where no one has gone before. Mars is independent and self-determining, which can just as easily be interpreted as self-centered. Try to tie him down and he will head for the hills. He is definitely into sex but it would take Venus to make him a lover. Mars is pure energy in action and unfettered movement is extremely important. What makes this somewhat problematic over the next month or so are other planetary signals that are anything but the green lights this devotee of speed wants to see. Mars will be seeing lots of red and for those who are not practiced in patience, see the need for preparation, or take others into consideration in thought and deed, this can manifest as high levels of frustration, quickness to anger, and highly scattered energy that collapses all sense of momentum. Martian energy is everywhere for the taking but can be quite non-productive if not focused with a sense of purpose.
The New Moon on May 17th is in the late degrees of Taurus, which is not exactly in Mars-friendly territory. Ruled by Venus, Taurus is concerned with harmony, beauty and the value of that which endures in relationships and the environment. The Sun and Moon’s annual conjunction in this sign asks us to tend to the solid ground we just cleared under the previous Aries New Moon cycle. This is a time to develop what is already in hand. Taurus is a fixed sign and beyond the cliché of being stubborn as a bull, one of the real gifts of Taurus is the ability to sustain whatever it holds dear. The theme of this New Moon therefore could be to discover what it is we value most and put real supportive energy into it. That means heart, and lots of it. Yes, there is still an overwhelming feeling of instability across the globe as we continue to experience significant upheavals correlating to long-lasting outer planet alignments. All the more reason to be clear on what is important to us and to cultivate enough space for it to grow. The New Moon is aligned with the now separating opposition between Saturn in Sagittarius and Mars in Gemini discussed in the last AstroCast. New beginnings therefore will be challenged by the stop and go nature of this energetic infusion. The only way through it is to employ a significant amount of discernment towards the synchronistic signals we meet. The traffic signals in the sky are just as important as those in our bustling cities. Have you ever been in a city that doesn’t have traffic lights? Pure chaos on wheels, and lots of honking! We may not like forward movement to be regulated at a too slow pace that seems out of our control, but heeding the signals gives us an opportunity to have a deeper experience of our immediate environment instead of just rushing through it. In the words of pure Taurus, stop and smell the roses. A little aromatherapy may awaken the heart’s desire.
Further underscoring the need to slow down, Mercury in Gemini turns retrograde on May 18th, creating the feeling of moving through molasses that will last through the middle of June. Everything that is in motion at this time will take longer to complete than we originally anticipated because of the need to retrace our steps, review all the pieces in place and make adjustments as needed for any plan, project, pact or partnership. Under the intellectual aura of Gemini, which Mercury rules, we will be reviewing these things at the very core of our perception. If we go along with the need for reappraisal as a welcome essential of existence rather than a detested backward burden we could come to understand ourselves at a profound level. The archetypal character of Mercury retrograde is the necessary ebb to the flow of life.
The Sun enters Gemini on May 21st, shifting our focus from sustained personal growth to networking with others. Joining Mercury and Mars in the communication sign, the Sun tilts the planetary emphasis to perceptual adaptability fostered through collecting and circulating information. Gemini loves data and the Sun here wants to know about everything, pinging from one subject faster than you can say read all about it! Quick thinking, fast talking Sun in Gemini also loves to bring people together so our social engagement calendar may experience an uptick in events to attend – June weddings and graduations are not surprisingly traditional activities falling under a Gemini Sun. The shadow side of Gemini’s hunger for interaction is a reluctance to linger. It would take the influence of other planets to counteract the Sun’s tendency for superficiality expressed through the Gemini filter. As the Sun makes his annual entrance into the astral space of Gemini, he encounters Father Time himself, Saturn, in Gemini’s polar opposite sign of Sagittarius. Exact on May 22nd, this alignment will decisively slow down the normally wing-footed Gemini Sun and test his knowledge base as well as his sense of discipline and purpose. If the necessary work has been done, then slow but steady progress can be made. Since Mercury retrograde is just getting started, however, chances are he will need to take care of some overlooked duties or be reminded of commitments made.
Venus’s feminist voice gets a megaphone May 21st through May 25th when she opposes Pluto and squares Uranus from her position in Cancer, creating a dynamic T-square alignment that activates the revolutionary and transformational energies of the outer planets that have been in a tense ongoing alignment for years, much discussed in this space and elsewhere. A study of news headlines from around the world reveal the magnitude of events generated by the Uranus/Pluto square, epitomized according to Richard Tarnas by the archetypal characters of Dionysus and Prometheus. We’re seeing increased movement towards emancipation by oppressed groups everywhere. Women’s rights issues have experienced a significant resurgence since the influence of the square began around 2008, and every time Venus touches the square the envelope is pushed a little more. As we speak there is a push by new women warriors to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Yes, that is correct, the ERA has not yet become the law of the land; we’re just three states shy of full ratification people. Here are some statistics from a recent CNN report: According to the UCLA World Policy Analysis Center, more than 80% of countries guarantee gender equality in their constitutions; the 32 that do not include the United States. Equal rights legislation is in every constitution written since World War II. According to a survey by the Opinion Research Corporation, 96% of U.S. adults believe women and men should have equal rights, and 72% believe the Constitution already guarantees those rights. WTF? Some of Hollywood’s most prominent women are conspicuously speaking out about the industry’s extremely biased hiring practices, and Variety just reported that the ACLU is “seeking state and federal investigation into the hiring practices of Hollywood’s major studios, networks and talent agencies [that include] overt sex stereotyping and implicit bias.” They want nothing less than legal charges to be filed for violation of civil rights. On the east coast, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s natal chart is being significantly activated by this very transit aligning with her Venus in Cancer, and the aspects described below pumping up her natal Mercury/Mars conjunction in Gemini. She has been leading the charge to open up the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal to public scrutiny, and her very public disagreement with the President over it could come to a head at this time. Any one of these feminist fronts in fact could experience a significant breakthrough during this Venus transit.
May 25th through 31st a challenging four-planet alignment unfolds, featuring the Sun, Mercury and Mars conjunct in Gemini, all in a square to Neptune in Pisces. We may feel like we have the psychophysical determination to move mountains but find ourselves on a rack that is stretching us to think and act beyond the mind’s comfort zones. This is an alignment that is very much greater than the sum of its parts. Mercury/Mars can bring on forceful oratory skills; Sun/Mercury – in this case the Inferior Conjunction, the highlight of the Mercury retrograde cycle – is propelled by insightful reasoning; and Sun/Mars is resilient, willful and competitive. Take that bundle in clever, proficient Gemini and add in the left field intervention from Neptune, strong in his fluid, spacey home sign of Pisces, and this is another level of planetary action that seems to thwart unfettered forward movement. What on the surface could seem like a distraction into nebulous thoughts of what exists beyond this earth plane, Neptune’s real challenge is to unite mind, body, heart and soul with a purpose that is put in the service of the Divine. The gatekeeper of the galactic consciousness contains the key to diffusing our awareness enough so that we can de-identify with our dense, mass-based perceptions and come into contact with the esoteric realms that reveal the greater wholes of all creation. For those practicing mindfulness, this presents an open door to advanced spiritual networking.
The Sun/Mercury/Mars/Neptune configuration leads us right into the Sagittarius Full Moon on June 2nd, creating a five-planet T-square that introduces a big picture quest for philosophical meaning into all that Gemini data sharing. The Moon in Sagittarius has a penchant for panoramic views, so is already primed to go further into psychic territory when she plugs into the square to Neptune, generating a high level of sensitivity and intuition from which she can access the music of the outer spheres. Every note in the galactic harmonic is part of a code that can only be deciphered in a non-linear, non-physical way. With the Moon at her brightest and most illuminating, she has the potential to sense that code at the core of her being. When it happens, her quest will become an enthusiastic mission to download the code into her daily life. The Sun in Gemini, equally drawn in by Neptune’s mysticism, is called to integrate his micro level knowledge quest with the Moon in Sagittarius’s macro approach to access the ability to see how it all fits together. Flanked by Mercury and Mars, the Sun will be hard pressed to acquiesce to Neptune’s compassionate nature, which he may simply perceive as soft and mushy. This band of brothers certainly won’t be feeling the need to answer the Moon’s call to reach out beyond the borders of their single-minded understanding. Again, the powerful mental and physical drive of the trio in Gemini could reach heightened intensity at this Full Moon. In the rush to get where they want to go, they may feel compelled to push aside any attempt to slow them down. Hopefully, the jovial nature of Luna in Sagittarius will prompt them to laugh rather than howl at this Full Moon.
Here’s the data (using Pacific Time and planetary positions rounded to the nearest whole degree, unless otherwise noted):
May 17th – Moon conjunct Sun (New Moon) at 27° Taurus at 9:13 p.m.
May 18th – Mercury stations retrograde at 13° Gemini at 6:50 p.m.
May 21st – Sun at 0° Gemini at 1:45 a.m.
May 21st – Venus opposite Pluto at 15° Cancer/Capricorn at 6:54 p.m.
May 21nd – Sun opposite Saturn at 2° Gemini Sagittarius at 6:35 p.m.
May 25th – Venus square Uranus at 19° Cancer/Aries at 10:09 a.m.
May 25th – Mars square Neptune at 10° Gemini/Pisces at 4:39 p.m.
May 27th – Mercury conjunct Mars at 11° Gemini at 3:37 a.m.
May 28th – Mercury square Neptune at 10° Gemini/Pisces at 11:59 a.m.
May 30th – Sun conjunct Mercury (Inferior Conjunction) at 9° Gemini at 9:56 a.m.
May 31st – Sun square Neptune at 10° Gemini/Pisces at 6:08 a.m.
June 2nd – Moon opposite Sun (Full Moon) at 12° Sagittarius/Gemini at 9:19 a.m.