As discussed in the last AstroCast, this is a time of intense restructuring and now that four planets are retrograde (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto) the alchemical heat is turned up in the areas of life under their domain. In addition to the structures of life, this including love and money, philosophy and the compelling drive to become our true self. The change in direction en masse reflects what is happening in our material reality, with a twist. The global pandemic seemingly put us in “reverse” (via the unprecedented collapse of daily routines correlating to the new era-defining Saturn/Pluto cycle that began in January) and after a couple months of staying at home the collective mindset desperately wants to go back to “normal” life. Paradoxically, this great four-planet archetypal shift into reverse occurring within such a short time period suggests the time for returning to business as usual should not be rushed nor forced, and to do so could result in potentially severe consequences. And, however it unfolds, life will not be anywhere near the same.
In a recent online astrology class wherein the current retrogrades were discussed, Jim Sher presented the metaphor of a bus headed downtown. Having picked up numerous passengers along the way, the driver suddenly realizes that it must turn back and pick up additional passengers who were missed on the first pass of the route. In other words, we are missing information or have missed some vital steps in the process of determining how to restart our lives, and before any significant forward movement can be made, we need to go back and fill in the blanks. The aspects unfolding during this period archetypally support the retrograde planets’ call to turn within and use our imagination to render a more complete view of what we want our “new normal” to look like. It may actually feel like the right thing to do, which should make it easier to withstand the intensity.
We often experience great internal resistance when something seems just too hard to tackle. But the clouds of overwhelm may seem to disperse when the Sun, representing our heart and our will to express who we are, forms harmonious trines to retrograde Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn, on May 14 and 17 respectively. This is a strong, productive and optimistic alignment in practical earth signs that promotes clarity of purpose and provides compelling power to move mountains, even if those mountains are just heaps of useless clutter in our own environment. The best place to start reshaping our life is in our immediate field of reference and it is entirely possible that a little material or mental clean up is in order. Pluto in Capricorn is the archetype especially suited to culling the superfluous from the fundamental; and Jupiter in Capricorn archetypally gives us the wide vision to see the benefit in making the effort, and the humor in recognizing the absurd mass of the unnecessary we’ve accumulated. As George Carlin, who has natal Sun in Taurus trine Jupiter in Capricorn, famously joked: “That’s the whole meaning of life – trying to find a place for your stuff.” The Sun in Taurus connected to the powerful force of Jupiter/Pluto will bring light into the shadows of our mental and material stuff to reveal what of all of it has true value and serves a useful purpose.
May 20 to 22, Mercury forms a conjunction to retrograde Venus in Gemini and both square Neptune in Pisces. Also as discussed in the last AstroCast, this is the second of three exact squares to Neptune that Venus will make due to its changing directions, and with Mercury now joining the square, talking about the nature of our values and relationships will be emphasized. Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, rules Gemini and not only has the gift of gab, but also serves as the divine whisperer of the cosmic intelligences. With Mercury/Venus in square to Neptune in the sign it rules, the art of listening to our loved ones as they share how they are feeling during this extraordinarily challenging time takes on a sacred tone. This first quarter “crisis of action” square may correlate to a feeling of being internally compelled to seek out imaginative ways to share what is going on inside while remaining physically distanced.
Simply listening to what each other is going through, without judgment or trying to give unsolicited help (which can often regress to disempowering interference), is a pure act of love that creates a positive energy flow between the person expressing and the person receiving. Feeling that we are being heard is the only thing that matters, and is in itself miraculously healing. When another person quietly serves as receipt point, we are able to hear past our mind to what our heart is saying and receive its wisdom. We may see that our minds are the only source of any struggle, not anyone else, and that in order to answer Neptune’s call to serve a higher spiritual purpose, which includes allowing our ego to dissolve, we must receive other as they are. To even get to that point, we must summon the courage to battle our inner demons of doubt, despair and sense of powerlessness. Being sensitive to the world’s suffering doesn’t mean it is our cross to bear.
Further emphasizing the need to connect, communicate and perhaps commiserate, on May 20 the Sun joins Venus and Mercury in Gemini. This intellectual air sign thrives in the realm of ideas but can easily be caught up in the dualistic thinking of the mind and the trap of unresolved sets such as good/bad, happy/sad, abundance/lack, etc. where we hold preciously on to one side and deny the existence of another. This keeps the mind in a state of disquiet as it feverishly finds ingenious ways to justify its position. The gift of Gemini is to learn to understand the need to accept and integrate the polarities at the peaceful, neutral zero point. Or as Dane Rudhyar puts it, “to avoid cramping one’s mind in such a manner that the unfamiliar or unwelcome event finds no admittance to the consciousness, and the feeling too overwhelming to be expressed is forced back into the tightened heart. It is to learn the difficult art of being positive and controlled, while letting things happen according to their own natural rhythm.”
On May 22 the Moon enters Gemini and conjuncts the Sun to form the New Moon with both forming exact trines to retrograde Saturn in Aquarius. The lessons of Gemini are intensified now with the aforementioned alignments infused into the new lunar cycle. The Sabian symbol for 3° Gemini is “The Garden of The Tuileries in Paris” and its key word is “formalism.” Rudhyar’s interpretation expresses how the need for order and symmetry brings clarity but the downside is ego-centralization and a narrow crystallization of dualistic concepts. This is another cosmic message that rushing back to the old structures is not in our best interest. Treating this period of high uncertainty as a sacred gift will open us to new ways of looking at how we communicate and share information, but also how the way we perceive life through a lens of fear or love formulates the ideas that ultimately determine how it manifests.
Just maybe, this social distancing experiment is doing more than just saving lives. It is providing a unique opportunity – and a responsibility – to rebuild our life in a way that is more authentic for us. One of our responsibilities in the self-care department is to refrain from overloading on social media and other often mischievous distractions from external sources. If we can detach even just a little from the herd consciousness, we can differentiate our truth from the hyped-up fear mongering and other negative forces methodically working to move us in ways that serve selfish, amoral purposes. If ever there was one, this is a time to consciously choose to go with the cosmic flow and do what intuitively feels right (i.e. following messages received from a place deep within that is beyond the ego-mind), to find the voice of our soul so we can truly make our own decisions without the interference of the constant undifferentiated noise that only serves to disrupt our imagination.