A quick series of sextiles throughout this period provides a stimulating outlet for the tension of longer lasting square aspects. Sextiles are constructive and steadying aspects that can bring excitement or at least a little coaxing encouragement to a project or situation in development, while the pressurized nature of squares challenge our forward movement in order to strengthen the integrity of our intent and alignment with our spiritual path. It is helpful to keep in mind that any planetary alignment is part of a continuing unfoldment of a cycle that carries its own unique set of developments and lessons well past the orb of influence of the actual aspect. Jim Sher teaches us to contemplate aspects as part of the myriad spiraling cycles of evolutionary development that continue to unfold throughout our lives and regard these peaks of intensity as cosmic strategies that focus us on the archetypal imperative of the planetary pairs involved.
On April 1, Mercury in Pisces forms an opening sextile to Pluto in Capricorn, suggesting our imagination and intuition may prove to be productive tools in sensing the undercurrents of our perceptions. The annual Mercury/Pluto cycle is related to the deep internal work required to understand how the mind works and bring more of our vast unconscious to light. Mercury in sensitive Pisces leans into the non-rational, timeless realms of consciousness as valuable conduits for information. Yet the motivation to move things forward picks up when Mercury segues into fiery, pioneering Aries on April 3, suggesting our mental processes and manner of communication will quicken or perhaps become impatient. Subsequently, Mercury forms another opening sextile, with Saturn in Aquarius on April 10, emphasizing the need to remain grounded in reality as we find ways to integrate the cosmically received information. The annual Mercury/Saturn cycle relates to a disciplined mind focused on mastering our undeveloped talents and abilities. It can also express as rigid adherence to our beliefs, so being the “open-minded skeptic” is a good strategy in traveling the path of growth.
April 6-10, Venus in Aries forms a closing sextile to Mars in Gemini then segues to an opening sextile to Jupiter in Aquarius. The Venus/Mars cycle (August 24, 2019 to July 13, 2021) focuses us on what determines our values and drives us to attract the relationships and experiences we want in our lives. The Venus/Jupiter cycle (February 11, 2021 to April 30, 2022) works to expand our views on that which we value with a focus on the balance, meaning and philosophical purpose something brings to our life. As Venus traverses the midpoint of a waxing Mars/Jupiter trine, the three planets align in a “mini-grand trine” configuration that amplifies the cooperative nature of the sextiles, suggesting relationships or joint efforts may feel a burst of inspiration and drive.
As the productive sextile alignments unfold, the intersections of other cycles at more challenging stages may correlate to a need to address obstacles. On April 9, Mars forms a first quarter “crisis of action” square to Neptune in Pisces that creates a sense of urgency to act on the ideas that formed at their conjunction. The Mars/Neptune cycle (June 13, 2020 to May 17, 2022) represents a call to act with holistic awareness of the impactful ripple effect our actions have on the evolutionary growth of our connected world. Neptune impresses on Mars the need to embark on the path of spiritual unity, with the understanding that whatever unique contributions we make are part of a higher purpose. This tension-producing aspect could correlate to some kind of push-back that forces us to reconsider if our motivations are for self-interest alone. The unseen forces of the universe often manifest as roadblocks that force us to redirect where we are headed. The constant operating question is whether our acts of creative self-determination are connected to our deeper soulful nature and sense of unconditional love.
On April 11, another “crisis of action” alignment unfolds that has a much different quality. An opening square between Venus and Pluto amplifies authenticity and the balance of power in relationships. This fractious moment in their cycle unfolding all this year can correspond to a compelling movement to connect deeply with other and create formidable alliances. Depending on how we handle it, that intense impulse could veer into obsession. At its highest expression, allowing the force of truth to express in our relationships opens us to forging deeper, more meaningful ways of relating. This requires sticking with the process, in as neutral a state as possible no matter how seriously uncomfortable it may be to give or take what needs to be expressed. Being aware of each other’s core values improves mutual understanding, and even more important is the need to remain vulnerable so that the depths and beauty of our soul can shine forth even as we endeavor to release the pain of deep wounds. There can be moments of tremendous pressure in this level of intimacy that, if we can withstand it without becoming reactive, leads to transformational healing.
As discussed in the last two installments of AstroCast, Venus has been travelling closely with the Sun for weeks and their Superior Conjunction on March 26 initiated the “full moon” phase of their cycle which will last through the end of April. This phase correlates to new developments in relationships and a coming to fruition of joint efforts where the extent of their meaning and purpose becomes clear and thus validates the constructive steps and/or adjustments in attitude that have been taken to this point.
The New Moon in Aries conjunct the Sun on April 11 joins Venus, Mars and Jupiter in the mini-grand trine formation discussed above, creating a potent five-planet configuration. The new lunar cycle, energized by the trailblazing stellium in Aries (Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury), is boosted by the sextiles to Aries-ruler Mars and broad-visioned Jupiter, amplifying the bold and courageous nature of the Aries archetype. The emphasis during the lunar cycle will therefore be on venturing into new territory to make connections and gather information so we can connect the dots of what we need to do and who to do it with. Also built into this archetypal alliance is a reminder to take time out for contemplation in order to receive information and allow things to progress at a natural ebb-and-flow rate rather than trying to force them with a headstrong push before their cosmically destined time.
The Sun’s closing sextile to Mars in Gemini perfecting on April 13 highlights the vitalizing two-year Sun/Mars cycle that focuses on that which ignites our beingness and will to creatively express. As we head into the final stages of the cycle (September 2, 2019 to October 7, 2021), we could reflect on what we have done that allowed us to emerge into a new way of being where we actually feel like we are expressing more as who we really are. There is a sense of joy that comes when we consciously follow the “law of our being.” There is much work to be done on this path and developing our unique gifts ultimately impacts all of humanity in the most surprising and valuable ways.