Awake yet? Ready to board that Shift Train to New Paradigm? The feeling of dangling on the precipice of radical change seems inevitable with the large amount of noisy, turbulent activity whirling around us, at least as far as the network news or our personal news feeds are concerned. Yet, the information coming in from the cosmos indicates additional recalibration may be necessary before making the leap. Arriving at the gateway of a new era, it is certainly important to release the urge to cling tightly to that which we know and embrace a willingness to experience the unknown. Charging ahead, however, without consciously acknowledging the essence of what we collectively learned from the previous cycle could breed amnesia, creating a one-dimensional path akin to an endless gerbil wheel of unconscious habituation, rather than continuing on the multidimensional spiral of learning. As this time period opens, all the astral bodies are either in cardinal signs (Aries and Capricorn), a phase-oriented mode that signifies new beginnings, or mutable signs (Virgo and Sagittarius), representing endings. Symbolically, we are at the portal of transition where we ideally will be taking what has gone before and alchemically mutating it into concentrated holographic seeds of energy that will inform and fuel the initiation of the next phase of being. Cardinal energy is especially dominant with four planets in Aries at the opening of this period, indicating a strong need to initiate. Additionally, the element of fire is also prevalent (the four planets in Aries plus two in Sagittarius), fueling our processes with the need to keep moving, with revolt against anything that threatens to hold back that movement always at the ready. With this impetus for movement however, comes an equally strong astral countercurrent that will endeavor to channel our focus inward where the seeds of the new beginnings must be planted before they can begin to manifest in our external lives. By the end of this period, there will be four planets in retrograde motion: Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and Mr. Action himself, Mars. By the end of April, Mercury will join them, bringing the total to a rare five planets driving our attention to internal matters, and bringing just about everything up for review. Therefore, at this moment, it would seem we are being asked to survey where we are in our state of being. The planetary message is clear: the Shift Train is arriving. We may just have a little preparation to do before hopping aboard by taking the next few months to consciously decide what seeds are really necessary to pack on our trip across the state of being lines.
Leading the drive for movement, the Sun in Aries activates several outer planets April 5th through 9th. Primed for action, the motivational, inspirational and courageous Sun in the sign of the Ram trines Saturn on April 5th, harmoniously connecting with the archetype of authority and responsibility. The ability to manage life becomes natural, sexy even. Saturn in Sagittarius’ easy-going work ethic supports the dynamic Aries Sun to look for ways to add a little zest into the way we meet our commitments. Infused with Saturn’s stabilizing energy, the Sun should be able to successfully navigate any turbulence he encounters upon activating the waning but still compelling Uranus/Pluto square that has been the main correlating astral factor to the paradigm-shifting going on. Bringing the self-driving will of the Sun, in bursting-with-new-life Aries, into the revolutionary and transformational nature of the era-defining alignment between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn will tip the scales to the liberationist within looking for ways to break free of structural forces that are being experienced as limiting, repressive or too controlling by a spirit that yearns to be free. The Sun square Pluto, exact on April 6th, is the archetypal power struggle between the self and a powerful dominating authority figure. The Sun conjunct Uranus, exact on April 9th, is the symbolic radical rebel with a driving need to shock as he takes his stand for individuation.
The Moon joins this agitating configuration on April 7th, heightening our emotional engagement in the process, which peaks when she conjuncts the Sun. The New Moon in Aries is thus charged with the struggle between freedom and control. On the world stage there are any number of examples of this struggle, from the surge in independent voters in the U.S. who are angrily, sometimes violently, abandoning a dysfunctional capitalistic political system that has created a corrupt economic structure favoring the 1%, to disenfranchised radicals who are ignoring traditional political boundaries and creating their own self-declared Islamic state through a stunning use of brutality that seems to have surpassed the very brutality they feel was perpetrated on them by Middle Eastern dictators. As consciousness seekers ever more aware of the insanity in the world around us, it remains for us to simply observe the struggle in our external environment rather than react to it, but also to look within to see where struggle may manifest in our own lives. This new lunar cycle therefore sets us up to take charge of our life simply by becoming conscious of the forces that are operating against our highest interests, basically anything that creates separation, which generally manifests as some form of negative thinking, including to name a few anger, hatred, escapism and despair. Once observed, we may go on to realize just how much we have been acquiescing to these forces that are in truth created by the mind, and with each new awareness we move further along our personal trail-blazing path to self-liberation from the dictator within.
As the Sun initiates his moves from the mid-degree range of Aries, both Venus and Mercury stir up their own brand of change by transitioning respectively in and out of Aries on April 5th. After a leisurely breakfast, Venus shakes off the compassionate embrace of Pisces and charges into Aries to show off her independent streak for the next twenty-five days. Not exactly a comfortable fit for the Goddess of Love, who is more concerned with the art of relating and always taking others into consideration, Venus in the sign that represents the Self will still want to relate, but not too close! She’ll desire the unfettered freedom to express her individuality here, and be more likely to make unilateral rather than joint maneuvers through various processes. She adores spontaneity and will passionately initiate new relationships, without inhibiting forethought, opening to the adventure of discovering another being. For her relationships to endure, however, she will need to make an effort to keep her connections energized. Her lesson in Aries is that love is not about conquering another’s heart, or aimlessly roving from one amorous challenge to the next. If she is open to adapting her way of expressing so that it is not so reckless, she may find that venturing deeper into the soul of another offers perhaps the greatest discoveries of all.
Later in the day on April 5th, Mercury reaches the end of his Aries adventure and downshifts into the life of the three S’: simplicity, stability and serenity. Mercury will spend a loooong time in the placid lands of Taurus due to his upcoming retrograde turn on April 28th. For as slow as his mental processes seem to go here, it may feel like time is standing still. In this practical earth sign through June 12th, Mercury could very well open the door to a different way of perceiving that is less active mentally, has less noisy chatter in the brain, and is more aligned with inner peace. A place so deep no words could survive the descent. Simply perceiving all that is becomes Mercury’s raison d’etre in Taurus. Naturally conservative and in tune with the magnificence of nature, Mercury in the sign of the bull also has a shadow side that must be acknowledged: that infamous stubborn nature. Conservative turns to traditional, and the next thing you know his mental state becomes resistant to change because he sees it as a disruptor of the peace he values over everything else. Guarding his peace is a much different movement than being at peace. If he reaches that point, he gives up all opportunity for growth. The challenge for Mercury in Taurus is to be the calm eye in a stormy world rather than retreating into artificially undisturbed isolation.
April 12th through 18th Mercury in Taurus and Venus in Aries form a series of harmonious aspects with multiple planets that will encourage the trail-blazing nature of the new lunar cycle while they provide much needed practical support. During this time there are no planets in air signs, not even the Moon, so intellectual processes will take a back seat to intuition and the physical senses for receiving and emitting information, as well as making decisions. April 12th, Mercury sextiles Neptune in Pisces, opening the door to a mystical perspective that sees how everything is connected between the natural and spiritual worlds. Taking this sublime infusion of imagination with him, Mercury then moves into a grand earth trine with Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn April 14th to 17th where his transcendent thinking can be applied to real-world solutions. Deepened by Pluto and broadened by Jupiter, Mercury’s triangulated perception promotes a profound and visionary way of looking at the mechanics of life in a holistic way. Mercury enters his shadow (the beginning of the degree space he’ll traverse three times) on April 14, so whatever is activated now, will likely come up for review during his retrograde period April 28th to May 22nd. Stressing the potential for profound, or perhaps obsessive, thinking, Pluto has now slowed to a crawl, beaming his forceful energy to earth like a laser as he prepares to turn retrograde on April 18th, remaining at the same degree and minute for five days. The urge to transform may push up from the core of our being, and become essential to incorporate in matters at hand.
April 12th through April 18th, Venus in Aries segues from a trine to Mars to a trine to Saturn, both in Sagittarius. Such easy flowing energy between three planets in fire signs would generally spark some excitement. The Venus/Mars planetary pair could certainly dazzle the senses and create an opportunity for some form of arrangement between love and sex. But having the chaperon of the sky, Saturn, join the archetypal astral lovers in a hot ménage a trois, may inspire them to make a meaningful commitment, albeit in some exotic locale given the adventure-loving signs involved, rather than having a sexy spring fling. With Saturn in close proximity, romantic alliances tend to endure, or find their purpose. He can also set boundaries or levels to achieve in order to test love. If romance isn’t in the cards, then the Venus/Mars/Saturn hookup may have more to do with stabilizing finances, formalizing an artistic partnership, or being in the zone in a team sport. However, Mars also has slowed to a crawl, turning retrograde on April 17th, so his vitality may seem a bit tame despite his fortuitous Venusian engagement. It may be that his alignment with Venus informs the nature of his retrograde period. Women’s issues are in the zeitgeist right now, as are issues of equal rights in all forms from economic to civil. During the Mars retrograde period, which lasts through the end of June, everything that motivates how we act, especially with respect to these issues, will come under review. It is clear balancing is necessary, but how many understand that women’s liberation, for example, will lead to men being liberated from a worn out image of what it is to be masculine?
Here’s the data (using Pacific Time and planetary positions rounded to the nearest whole degree, unless otherwise noted):
April 5 – Sun trine Saturn at 16° Aries/Sagittarius at 9:09 a.m.
April 5 – Venus at 0° Aries at 9:51 a.m.
April 5 – Mercury at 0° Taurus at 4:10 p.m.
April 6 – Sun square Pluto at 17° Aries/Capricorn at 1:10 p.m.
April 7 – Moon conjunct Sun (New Moon) at 18° Aries at 4:24 a.m.
April 9 – Sun conjunct Uranus at 20° Aries at 2:27 p.m.
April 12 – Mercury sextile Neptune at 11° Taurus/Pisces at 2:40 a.m.
April 12 – Venus trine Mars at 9° Aries/Sagittarius at 12:17 p.m.
April 14 – Mercury trine Jupiter at 14° Taurus/Virgo at 8:27 a.m.
April 17 – Mercury trine Pluto at 17° Taurus/Capricorn at 2:21 a.m.
April 17 – Mars station retrograde at 9° Sagittarius at 5:14 a.m.
April 18 – Pluto station retrograde at 17° Capricorn at 12:23 a.m.
April 18 – Venus trine Saturn at 16° Aries/Sagittarius at 7:38 a.m.
Hi Anahit – You could say both ways of looking at it are appropriate. “Shadow” is a technical astrological term referring to the degree space Mercury will traverse three times – first in direct motion, then retrograde, then direct again. In the current cycle we’re in, direct Mercury first touches 14 degrees Taurus on April 14; on April 28 he turns retrograde at 24 degrees Taurus; he reaches 14 degrees Taurus again on May 22, at which time he turns direct and then reach 24 degrees Taurus on June 7. Metaphorically, when Mercury initially 14 degrees Taurus, he starts setting the stage for what will be reviewed. When reaches the degree at which he turns retrograde it will be as if he looks back at the shadow he cast over the last couple of weeks. In revisiting terrain under Mercury’s domain – communications, perceptions, etc., we will all be looking at the shadow we recently cast in these areas and perhaps look at them in a new light, find things that need rectifying, clarifying or restated entirely. It is an opportunity to be accountable for the shadows we cast as well as giving others the chance to do so as well.
A very enlightening AstroCast – revealing a fascinating range of energy patterns to process this April! I guess, with no planets in air signs, I won’t be able to use my default mode of inquiry (thinking) to grasp what’s happening on a being level. So, let’s hope my intuition can tap into the energies of the six planets expected to enter their retrograde phases over the next month. I look forward to attaining the preparation necessary to board the impending “New Paradigm” “Shift Train” right side up. Question re: “Mercury enters his shadow (the beginning of the degree space he’ll traverse three times) on April 14” — In this context, does the word “shadow” just refer to the fact that Mercury will be traversing a given degree three times? Or, as my intuition indicates, is Mercury retrograding in Taurus also expected to lead a person into dealing with one’s “shadow” aspects in a psychological sense? Just wondering. Thanks!