Low-Down Archives for April 2011

New Moon & Full Moon Astrology, Planetary Transits

Mascot of The Low-Down on the Far-Lout

 April 2011

For the New Moon in Aries:
April 3 to 17, 2011

And the Full Moon in Libra:
April 17 to May 3, 2011

Apr.03 � NEW MOON in ARIES (13:29 of Aries)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Apr.03, 2011, 10:32 AM EDT

London, UK:

Apr.03, 2011, 3:32 PM BST

Sydney, AU:

Apr.04, 2011, 12:32 AM AEST

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience ARIES energy in your life.

The Aries Spirit: Carpe Diem!

The Ram. Horns down, charging. Fierce. Unyielding. Will the Ram crack his skull? He doesn't care. Nothing can intimidate him. Nothing can for his will to swerve. Victory�or self destruction in the effort to attain it: two destinies. One will claim him.
- Steven Forrest,
The Inner Sky

This New Moon's chart has 6, count 'em, SIX planets in Aries! Sun and Moon (natch, since that's what the New Moon is: Sun-Moon conjunction), conjunct Jupiter, conjunct Mercury retrograde. Then there's also Mars and Uranus, so tightly conjunct that you probably couldn't even stick a razor blade in between them. All of them in Aries.

That alone would normally indicate an overabundance of energy! And that's true right now too. At best, it can inspire with a flame thrower of life force, enthusiasm and motivation. Do it now! Don't wait. Don't question or doubt. Don't analyze it. Don't worry about how or whether you should. Don't wonder if you will succeed or fail. Just seize the impulse and do it. Carpe diem! Seize the day!

Still hesitating? Still peering apprehensively over that cliff edge instead of leaping? Not quite ready to carpe your diem? That's okay, that's probably most of us. And it doesn't have to be all or nothing. That's what the process of the lunar cycle is for�to allow our experience of the energy to unfold, evolve and grow.

So there are two ways you can, and probably should, go from here. One is to identify and bring into focus what it is you really want. The other is to identify and bring into clearer understanding what it is that's holding you back. Connect with both of these and you'll be in a much better position to take action in the direction of your choice.

Aries, Action and Reaction

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

On the other hand, Aries is also about anger, frustration, annoyance, aggression and hostility. So "seize the day" could feel more like you want to seize it by the scruff of the neck and giving it a good shake!

When that forceful energy is unleashed, it's not always pretty, especially if it's been suppressed. Human nature can get pretty complicated and distorted when we try to put stringent or arbitrary conditions on that life force. We often see some Aries qualities in negative terms: anger, risk-taking,

At its worst, our actions can become antagonistic, provocative and confrontational. Resulting reactions are likely to be quick, sharp, uncompromising and explosive. Tragic case in point: the burning of the Qur'an by the Dove Outreach Center in Florida, with the reaction of violent anti-US protests by hundreds (possibly thousands) of outraged demonstrators in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of 12 people, including 5 protestors and 7 UN workers.

Action and reaction. Reaction to the reaction. Escalating action and reaction in the belief that if the action is big enough, loud enough, angry enough, righteous enough, extreme enough, then it will eliminate any possibility of another reaction. It will simply end the argument. It will erase all doubt, questioning, disagreement or opposition.

Oneness > One

Wholeness is not the same as oneness. ...Wholeness is a condition in which we are identified with a central core (such as the Self or the soul) which is in an active, productive relationship with the various aspects of our life (internal and external). ...Oneness is not based on a relationship among different parts; it is based on an awareness of a common essence, such as spirit or life-energy.
- James Harvey Stout (from Trans4Mind.com)

Life would be so much easier if we could all just agree, right? If we all believe the same thing, perceive the same thing, want the same things and reject the same things. This is the temptation in Aries: that life is unilateral.

Archetypally, Aries follows Pisces. Pisces sees the ideal of a Universal Oneness that unites all things into a single whole where everything coexists. Archetypal progression and evolution takes the conclusion or ideal of the previous sign and takes it one step further in the next sign: "If this is true, then that must follow. Here is the implication, so let's follow that and see where it leads."

So, from the Pisces realization of the Oneness of all being, we arrive in Aries that creates One from Oneness. And there is validity to this. Aries is where the cyclical zodiac recycles itself, where one process ends and the next one begins. It takes the learning, rewards, achievements, results and unfinished business from the previous cycle and reincarnates it into a whole new process. It is the Fool in the Tarot, where the innocent takes the first step in a new journey. It is the single seed that is produced from the fruit of the previous cycle, now ready to be planted anew.

And as all things are from the One, by the meditation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation.
- Emerald Tablet (translation from TheMystica.Com)

So there is just one thing, right? Not quite. From one thing there are limitless possibilities. And that boundless potential resides in every one thing. The Emerald Tablet of alchemy states that all things ultimately come from one thing through a process of adaptation or modification.

The modern version of this is "There's nothing new under the sun." Everything is an implication or evolution or result or variation of something else. And when you look at it all lined up together, conjoined, aligned by a thread of cause and effect, adaption and implication, then everything is everything. The one and the many are the same...except different. Confused yet?

Mercury, currently retrograde in Aries, just loooooves to take us on a mental journey to explore the Mobius strip of bent logic that can evolve from any single idea, concept, observation or perception. All roads lead to Rome, as they say, but all roads lead from Rome too. You can get anywhere from anywhere.

One ≠ Only One

Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both. - Oscar Wilde

How to make sense of all this possibility and potential? Pick one. Follow it. Or decide where you want to end up and keep your destination in sight. The important thing is to focus, prioritize, organize and be willing to compromise in how you get where you're trying to go. Figure out the What or the Why and leave the How up to the Universe. Or choose the How and let the Universe show you What, Why and Where that can lead you. But either way: choose.

This is where Saturn comes in handy. The New Moon in Aries is exactly opposite Saturn in Libra. All of them at 13 degrees and change. 25 little minutes of orb from being 100% precise. Saturn in Libra says: Choose. Focus.

But be careful. Choosing one focal point is not the same as assuming that "one size fits all." Choosing one direction doesn't necessarily mean that direction is going to be the best choice for everyone all of the time in all cases. Jupiter is conjunct the New Moon, and one of Jupiter's blind spots is believing that "there's only one truth and I've got it, so if you disagree with me that means you don't got it."

Jupiter is especially susceptible to this when in Aries, where it can jump to conclusions and make snap judgments. It's true that Jupiter's intuitive side can grasp a lot of truth from a modicum of information, but it can also see that truth through a lens of assumptions and biases that are more about what we want to be true.

With Jupiter still opposite Saturn (having made their final pass on Mar.28), there is still a tendency to get caught up in the struggle between certainty and doubt. If you get stuck in that struggle, ask yourself where this is coming from. Do you have such a need to be right, that you can't tolerate disagreement or diversity? Or perhaps you are second-guessing yourself by shadow-boxing with your own fear that you're wrong? These are really two sides of the same argument.

At best they can bring into balance the passionate idealism of Jupiter with the sober objectivity of Saturn. However, to achieve that balance you must be able to embrace both sides of that equation simultaneously. If you're seeing them as either-or, they'll react to each other like fire and ice.

Whose Reaction Is This Anyway?

The way we see the problem is the problem.
- Stephen R. Covey

A perpetual state of imbalance can become especially problematic. An example of this is where the passionate righteousness of Jupiter (in Aries, conjunct the New Moon) could go ballistic in reaction to the cool, calm Saturn who is "only trying to be reasonable and rational." Have you ever experienced that? Where you disagree with someone who is oh-so calm and reasonable? And the more rational and cool they are, the more triggered and enraged you feel? Or vice versa?

At its worst, this may be an unconscious dynamic that can happen some of the time (not all the time) in connection to the opposition aspect. The upset person is actually acting out the feelings of the "calm" person that are being suppressed. It's not that the calm person is really "above" all that emotion, but that they have become disconnected and split off from it, and those feelings become projected onto someone else. The other person (often someone very sensitive, and perhaps already in an upset state) picks up the hidden emotion and, like a tuning fork, winds up expressing it, acting it out and getting all tangled up in it.

This situation can escalate wildly, since both sides are actually responding to something that's only an echo of what is really happening. The upset person tries to grapple with (what seems to be) their own emotions, without realizing that a lot of that emotion isn't even theirs, but rather something they have "taken on" unconsciously. You can't let go of something you don't actually have, and so it can be like getting lost in a hall of mirrors where everything seems real but a lot of it is an illusion.

Similarly, the "calm" person gets to tell themselves that they were right in attributing those qualities to the other person, since the volatile person is overreacting and therefore "proving them right." Conversely, the person who is "overreacting" usually feels out of control and overwhelmed. And, of course, what complicates this is that the "overreacting" person also brings their own set of projected expectations, fears, hopes and biases. They may attempt to vilify the "calm" person, seeing all kinds of negative qualities in them, some of which may be true or not.

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get me.
- "Frank Burns" (M.A.S.H.)

To the outside observer, the upset person appears to be overreacting and therefore they become identified as "the problem," when it is actually a shared dynamic between both people. All the while, the upset person may be at a loss to understand why this is all happening, while the "calm" person shrugs in wonder about why the other person is being so unreasonable and irrational. And this mutual dance can go around in circles for a long time before the spell is broken.

This not necessarily the case with all disagreements, of course, but this kind of unconscious dynamic is usually present to some extent in any situation that seems out of proportion, out of control or just plain mystifying. There's something else going on underneath the surface. And this can happen between individuals, within families, in the workplace or your local community, or even between cultures or countries. (And we won't even begin to talk about politics...)

Stepping Off the Merry-Go-Round

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

It takes enormous courage, presence of mind and discipline to step out of that dance and decide not to respond to it. And this is not the same as simply putting up a wall to suppress the volatile energy, since all that does is perpetuate the dynamic in hiding. In that case, it continues to burn like an underground fire that is not only just as dangerous but now also unpredictable and harder to deal with because it's hidden.

Rather, it is necessary to step off the merry-go-round and have the courage to let it spin without you. It can leave you feeling dizzy, like your emotions are still spinning, and it's easy to be tempted back into the dynamic if you feel threatened or overwhelmed. However, it can be done.

This is essentially what Mohandas Gandhi did when he took calm, deliberate action to protest government oppression in both South Africa and India, and by insisting that protest must be done non-violently. It is also what Martin Luther King Jr. did when he protested against segregation with nonviolent actions. These are some of the highest examples of Aries courage.

Right now Mars is fused with Uranus�an explosive combination at the best of times, and especially when in Aries! Mars being the planetary ruler of Aries, it is the champion of the New Moon, ready to go into battle to fight for whatever the New Moon takes a stand for, defending its honour and vanquishing its enemies. Having Uranus as Mars' battle companion is like being armed with a light sabre instead of a plain old sword. However, it's important to remember that might does not necessarily equal right. And as we've seen, there are many ways to use one's courage�some of them more honourable and judicious than others.

Pluto � the Secret Truth

Pluto square midpoints between Aries planets
Pluto on midpoint between Saturn and Mars-Uranus

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
While the secret sits in the middle and knows.
- Robert Frost

Although Mars and Uranus are not opposite Saturn, Pluto brings them together by sitting on the midpoint between them. In fact, Pluto is involved in this chart more than you might think initially. Pluto is in square aspect (90�) to a number of midpoints (the point of the zodiac in between two planets). These midpoints include those between the Sun-Moon-Jupiter group of planets and the Mars-Uranus conjunction (upper-right diagram). In other words, Pluto becomes the conduit that brings most of those Aries planets together�a rather volatile and powerful combination!

Pluto T-square to Saturn and Sun-Moon-Jupiter

Pluto also forms a somewhat wide T-square to the Sun/Moon-Saturn opposition (diagram at left), bringing an echo of the Cardinal Cross from last year, which we will continue to see for the next few months. 

Pluto is also precisely conjunct the midpoint between Mars and Saturn, and tightly conjunct the Uranus-Saturn midpoint. (lower-right diagram) So, even though these planets are not aligned closely enough to all be in aspect to each other, they are united through Pluto on the midpoints. This also brings back the challenging and transformative energy of the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto Cardinal Cross.

Pluto is the mediator between the familiar and the unknown, or between two different parts of you that need to be bridged before you can bring them into balance. Pluto asks you to delve deeper into the issues and situations you are dealing with, to discover the secret truth about what is really going on.

One ≠ Alone

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.
- Jesse Jackson

What does all of this Pluto stuff mean? For one thing, it's not enough to simply find your Aries courage or tap into your Aries energy or connect with your Aries individuality, although these are certainly part of this lunar cycle's lessons. Rather, you are challenged to go the extra mile, to engage in a transformative struggle between the forces of action and reaction, projection and awareness, discipline and impulse, courage and caution, and between creative doubt and dogmatic certainty.

Bringing these dichotomies together requires a strong hand and sustained effort, like a charioteer keeping a tight rein on two strong horses that may not want to go charging off in the same direction. This takes skill, strength of spirit and courage. It will also require faith in your ability to meet the challenge before you, as well as the willingness to go wherever the path takes you and the confidence that, one way or another, you will be able to deal with whatever you find there.

If you are lacking in any of these qualities, you may feel blocked, inhibited, over-reactive or over-confident (to compensate for the other feelings). Fear and concern in the face of the unknown are normal, but if they are so strong that you become stuck in the "fight, flight or freeze" syndrome then seek out some help in getting unstuck.

Aries teaches us that, when it comes right down to it, you alone have to do whatever needs to be done�but that doesn't mean you have to be alone as you do it. Connecting to like-minded and supportive people can help, especially those who can help you understand what is holding you back�or propelling you into reckless or erratic action. When you've lost your faith in yourself, it helps to find someone who can remind you of the best of who you are.

I'm available for private readings, to give you support, offer insight and help you find a clear path through the confusion. I'm also going to be giving some online classes and workshops this month, so check the Classes section of this website often for news about these Evolving Door events. Please contact me for more information about readings and classes.

Apr.03 � Mars conjunct Uranus (01:17 of Aries)  (Apr.04 in AU)

This can be a potent, exciting and/or explosive time! Your energy level may be a bit wonky with a lot of ups and downs. However, there is also likely to be a lot of energy to harness for whatever purpose you want to apply it to � just don't expect to always be able to draw on it predictably or consistently. If you have wanted to take action to break free of old habits or patterns, this is a great time to do that. Or, you might want to begin a new project that is unusual or experimental. This spurt of energy probably won't last, so you'll need to follow it up with some structure, discipline and realism if you want to continue whatever you've started. In the meantime, make the most of this upsurge of energy, motivation and drive, but remember that if you become reckless or destructive, you'll have to live with the consequences.

Apr.03 � Sun opposite Saturn (13:52 of Aries/Libra)  (Apr.04 in UK, AU)

You may be obligated to fulfil the expectations of others or of society under this transit. A situation or project (which may have begun around 6 months ago) might require that you start to implement the plans and preparation you've been building. Or you might find that problems you've been putting off must now be dealt with. Although you could experience this as stressful or heavy, it can also be a time when you are finally able to move ahead with a project or goal. All commitment requires some degree of limitation and pruning back, since we must choose one path and leave other options behind. This may therefore feel like a time when you are pressured by obligation, necessity or restraint...or it could feel like the rehearsals are finally over and it's time to launch the rocket. If it seems like you're only seeing blocks or obstacles in your way, this might be a reflection of not having done enough preparation (in which case you will need to draw on your experience to solve the problems or deal with the reality in front of you). This can be a time when you reap whatever you have sown in the past (especially the last 6 months), so if your current situation seems negative or punitive, it might be a time when you need to look back over your actions that lead to this and be accountable for past actions and decisions. Whether you are taking the final step to implement your plans or are facing the results of poor past judgment, this can be a time when you are called upon to move forward in your personal growth and maturation. Use it to strengthen your responsibility (response-ability), and don't let fears of inadequacy erode your self-esteem.

Apr.04 � Neptune enters Pisces (until Aug.04, then Feb.03.2012 until 2025)

It is rare that Neptune changes signs. Neptune was last in Pisces from 1847-1861, and will be there from 2011-2026, and then won't be there again until 2175-2190. Since it takes 12-14 years for Neptune to move through a sign, its effect on us evolves slowly, subtly and gradually. Neptune is considered by the modern western astrology system to be the planetary ruler of Pisces, so for Neptune to be in Pisces is a double-whammy of Pisces energy! Or perhaps more like a very loud whisper. ;-)

This energy is likely to bring us into contact with a very strong, raw or archetypal experience of spiritual, artistic, creative, empathic, intuitive or psychic energy. Collectively we could see the resurgence of artistic, imaginative and creative activity in the world that places a higher value on the arts than we've seen for a while. It could also inspire us to explore a more in-depth experience of mysticism and psychic energy. Compassion as a spiritual value could become an increasing focus, as we sense a deep collective connection with each other on Planet Earth.


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On the other hand, Neptune and Pisces are also associated with illusion, deception, fraud, fantasy and superstition. Beliefs are very fluid things which can be assumed to be real, yet could be based on misconceptions, biases and false assumptions. In Pisces, it is very tricky to tell the difference between what's real and what's fantasy. The realm of belief can be mutually exclusive from that of fact, and the line between them murky and confusing. With Neptune in Pisces, entire collective groups of people could be overcome by beliefs that are based on assumptions that have more to do with defence against fear and panic than with reality or truth. Neptune in Pisces could indeed be where we discover how, as the saying goes, the road to Hell becomes paved with the best of intentions.

On a personal level, Neptune in Pisces could bring you to an overall exploration of these areas or a deeply personal experience of these issues, depending on the transits you get from Neptune while it is in Pisces. You could discover a new expression of higher purpose in your life, perhaps inspired by a renewed sense of connection to something greater than yourself. This "something greater" could be a sense of the ultimate reality of existence (which some might call God), or it might be a sense of closer connection to the whole of Humanity, as well as other life, systems and rhythms on our home planet.

Neptune in Pisces could also challenge you to probe deeper into your personal beliefs and test out whether these still fit your experience of life and whether they continue to serve your best interests. You might find you have to reassess what you believed to be true about yourself or about others, and this could lead you into an experience of disappointment or disillusionment which must be reassembled into a new vision of what is real. You might have to confront some deep personal fears so that you can learn how to believe in yourself and in life without having to rely on misconceptions, fantasies or blind faith.

I'm available for private readings which can give you some much-needed clarity when you're in the Neptunian fog. I can help you understand the nature of what you're going through and how to get the most benefit from it. I'll be giving online classes and workshops that can give you valuable insight and learning to help you on your journey. Please contact me for more information about readings and classes, and check back often to the Classes section of this website for Evolving Door events.

Apr.06 � Sun conjunct Jupiter (16:27 of Aries)  (Apr.07 in AU)

Confidence, optimism, leadership, vision and well being characterise this transit. Your self-esteem and self-awareness can be wide open now. Your sense of being part of something greater than yourself may be vivid and bright. And you may have increased ability to identify and act on opportunities around you, which can bring you "lucky" prospects. On the other hand, if you have difficulty embracing a positive sense of self, or if you shy away from believing you are a treasured Child of the Universe, then this transit might stir up those difficult feelings to the surface. You could wind up trying to compensate with over-confidence, arrogance, blind faith, or gambling on what are realistically poor prospects. The trick is to tap into the spirit of who you are. Let go of blame and instead apply some honest yet compassionate assessment. Let your spirit shine brightly out to the world, but not so brightly that you blind yourself or others by your own light. Consult a trusted friend for feedback or advice if in doubt. This is a great time to expand your horizons, whether that is through travel, by learning something new, by sharing your knowledge with others, or by exploring the Meaning of Life.

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Apr.09 � Pluto stationary Retrograde (07:30 of Capricorn) ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets. )

For up to a week before and after this date, Pluto's energy is especially strong and intense. You might experience this in the form of intensity, power struggles, deep psychological awareness or strong libido. You could encounter the need to face aspects of yourself or others that are disturbing or difficult to accept. There may also be some part of yourself or your life that has fulfilled its purpose and needs to be shed like a snake's skin. Over the next 5 months (while Pluto is retrograde), you will work at loosening and letting go of that "skin," and working toward the rebirth that will come out of it. This can also be a time when you become aware of the areas where you need to strengthen your personal empowerment or possibly need to tone down the way you wield power.

Apr.09 � Sun conjunct Mercury retrograde (19:36 of Aries)  (Apr.10 in AU)

When the Sun conjoins Mercury Retrograde, there is a new beginning in the areas of awareness, communication, use of information and exchange of ideas. This may or may not be heralded by a recognisable event or experience, although for a day or two your consciousness may shift. Your awareness and mental concentration may take a dip into the unconscious, becoming unusually murky and muddy, or it may rise into ultra-consciousness and become suddenly clear and lucid (afterwards returning to the usual Mercury retrograde fog). A new awareness or perspective on what has unfolded during the retrograde cycle thus far may surface now, or an unworkable attitude or perception of these events may fall apart under the weight of new information. This shift of awareness may be obvious or subtle, sudden or gradual, but this transit marks a turning point in the Mercury retrograde cycle. It also marks a time when mental awareness often goes further underground, for the rest of the retrograde period, making it a little harder to operate objectively and rationally in the outside world. Spend some time in your right-brain, intuitive, non-rational mind, which can coax your mental creativity and inventiveness to the surface.

Information is the name of the game during a Mercury retrograde cycle! There are two books I highly recommend on retrogrades in general. One is Erin Sullivan's Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape which is detailed, comprehensive and very in-depth. Everything you ever wanted to know about retrograde cycles and planets! Erin's book is also available in a Kindle edition.

Apr.11 � Mars square Pluto (07:30 of Aries/Capricorn)  (Apr.12 in AU)

This can be a volatile combination of energies, which can generate enormous stress and conflict, but can also motivate you go beyond your perceived limitations. The biggest dangers with this transit include obsessive control, violence in response to frustration, and natural reactions of anger being blown out of proportion into rage. However, if you are able to harness this energy and put it to productive use, it can fuel your ambitions and drive you to push past the barriers that are in your way (including your own discouragement or lethargy). There can be a fine line, though, between empowering yourself with determination and courage versus forcing the issue in a way that creates more problems than it solves. And there is a difference between being obsessively attached to the outcome versus discovering that you have more courage, strength and tenacity than you thought you did, when your back is against the wall. Sexual tension can be strong under this transit, so it is wise to use some good judgment about whether or how to act on that. Power struggles with others can become very intense, so strive to be clear in yourself about what you really want and how you can assert your interests without inflicting the emotional equivalent of nuclear war.

Apr.11 � Mercury retrograde conjunct Jupiter (17:47 of Aries)  (Apr.12 in AU)

This aspect can make you quite talkative and your mind flooded with ideas. Be careful you don't blurt out any secrets! Your stream of consciousness ideas can flow abundantly right now with optimism and visionary possibilities. Write down your best ideas for later development, since you may be having too much fun playing with ideas, to stop and make them manifest. Basic perceptions and simple communication can provide food for thought that feeds your greater understanding and philosophical insight. Your point of view expands to identify opportunities, possibilities and the broader implications of what is happening around you. You might get a flash of vision, insight and inspiration. You could be called upon to form an opinion, consider a different viewpoint, expand your knowledge, or make a judgement call. Your conscious awareness is open to spiritual experiences right now.

Apr.17 � FULL MOON in LIBRA (27:44 of Libra)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Apr.17, 2011, 10:43 PM EDT

London, UK:

Apr.18, 2011, 3:43 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Apr.18, 2011, 12:43 PM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience LIBRA energy in your life.

"Am I indecisive?
Well, yes and no..."

Libra has never been known for its decisiveness.

In fact, given the choice between a rock and a hard place, the Libra would climb up and plant one foot gracefully on each, triumphant that they had solved the problem without offending either side.

Libran indecision is a vexing state of mind. It's based on a desire for fairness, not wanting to hurt feelings, not wanting to lose out on one thing by choosing the other, and the curse of being able to appreciate both sides of an argument. Why pick sides when you could try to bring the two sides together in peace and harmony?

Why, indeed.

Well, for one thing, we happen to have a gazillion planets in Aries at the moment (which continues until May 16). Aries doesn't especially like to share its toys. Aries prefers to choose, or perhaps prefers that YOU choose�choose the Aries over anyone else, that is. And with one, two, three, four, FIVE planets in Aries right now, all vying for first place, to be THE ONE, that Libra Moon has a lot to choose from!

To make matters worse, there is no Fixed energy in this chart�no planets in Fixed signs. That means that the dynamic energy of the chart has little to stabilize it or slow things down from the impulsive, impatient, hyper-Aries overdrive. It would be easy for our poor Libra Moon to start spinning in circles, trying to choose which planet to respond to first.

There's only one planet in an Earth sign�Pluto. I'm not sure this helps a whole lot either. While Libra Moon would like to glide lightly and elegantly through an open field of fragrant flowers in artful splendour, having Pluto as the grounding factor is like saying "you can only glide through that field if you do it with a deep plough." Having Saturn in Libra can help, but Saturn's not about to go tiptoeing through anyone's tulips. Oh he'll make sure your furrows are straight and organized�consistent and graceful like a Japanese rock garden, perhaps, but probably not like flowing gracefully in slow motion the way Libra would prefer.

The Aries brigade includes the Sun, of course, since it's opposite the Libra Moon. (That's what a Full Moon is.) The Sun is Exalted in Aries, its sense of self sharpened brightly in this individualistic sign. This opposition really emphasizes the you/me, I/we polarity between Aries and Libra. It puts a challenging demand on the Libran Moon to balance out that pointed Solar individuality with sensitive Lunar empathy and caring about others. There is a risk now of giving too much of yourself when confronted by a strong, overwhelming personality, or in an effort to keep the peace if the other person is aggressive or overbearing. However, at its best this combination also has the potential to create a healthy balance within yourself between asserting your own needs and sharing your strength with others.

Also residing in Aries is its own planetary ruler, Mars, which forms a triple conjunction with Mercury retrograde and Jupiter. These three form a powerful coalition, whose highest use can be to focus wisdom, action and insight together in the same beneficial direction. At worst, though, these three could pull up unspoken resentments from the unconscious and hurl them like a catapult at the closest target that's handy.

The triple conjunction is also opposite Saturn. In fact, Mars and Saturn are exactly opposite, within less than half a degree of orb. This part of the opposition could easily become the primary see-saw for that Libran indecision, and the need to find a stable balance between them could become a strong focus of this lunar cycle.

Saturn and Mars don't usually work and play easily together. Saturn likes to be the boss and have the final decision, whereas Mars insists on being independent and resists anyone telling him what to do. Potentially, they could work very well together, combining the enthusiastic "get-up-and-go" of Mars with the stable discipline of Saturn. However, you practically have to muzzle and hogtie them both to get them working in sync.

With them being in opposition, what's more likely to happen initially is a back-and-forth pendulum motion between Mars leaping into action versus Saturn slamming on the brakes in prudent caution. Ideally, what could evolve out of this is a productive tension, like a spirited horse in a harness pulling a wagon. However, to achieve this you'll need to tame the reactive defiance in the Mars part of you, and get the stern Saturn part of you to lighten up a little and let Mars have some playtime and maybe have fun doing the work.

Jupiter and Saturn in opposition can produce a similar effect, with Jupiter's desire for expansion and adventure versus Saturn's priority of discipline and pruning back everything but the most essential.

Mercury is still retrograde in Aries and therefore making our concentration, expression and mental focus rather sporadic, distractible and impulsive. With Mercury opposite Saturn, if you're not able to tame or at least make productive use of Mercury's erratic nature, then external circumstances could get in your way and do it for you. This combination challenges you to find discipline, usefulness and balanced stability in your thoughts, words and attitude, in spite of the tendency to swish back and forth like a reactive ping-pong ball.

This energy is not likely to change in a hurry, since Mercury is stationing Direct opposite Saturn on Apr.23. (Technically, it doesn't reach exact, but it stations within less than half a degree.) Mercury pulls away from the opposition slowly as it gradually picks up speed again. These two remain within orb of the opposition from Apr.07 until May.05 (and were also opposite from Mar.13-25). Suffice to say the reactive, either-or effect of the opposition aspect has significantly added to the wonkiness (that's a technical term) of this Mercury retrograde.

Adding to this erratic energy at the Full Moon is Venus, which is conjunct Uranus �certainly not the most stabilizing or grounded energy in the solar system. And since Venus rules Libra, this transmits more of this unsettled, zingy energy back to the Full Moon and is only likely to add to the back-and-forth, indecisive, either-or, yes-but theme.

Venus is also in a quincunx (150�) aspect to the Moon, which increases the need to be flexible and think outside the box when it comes to resolving the need for balance and harmony. Diversity of thought, interaction and attitude can be a good thing as long as you don't try to homogenize it all into a state of conformity and consistency. Thankfully, Venus is strongly placed and Exalted in Pisces, so there is the potential to tap into a sense of higher purpose and greater context within which to understand what's happening.

What begins to emerge is a theme that warns of too much reactivity and encourages you to look outside your immediate situation, feelings or circumstances, and see things within a greater context. Think of driving a car. It starts to wander to the left, so you turn the wheel to the right; it then moves a bit too far to the right, so you turn to the left. If you react too quickly or acutely, you wind up stuck in a syndrome of back-and-forth overcompensation which results in you weaving all over the road. The way to steer the car most effectively is to focus down the road and to make only small, gradual changes in direction, just enough to correct any wandering off course. It's the same thing with this Full Moon�small changes will be much more effective than big reactions.

T-square aspect configuration

There is a T-square aspect configuration focused on Pluto, which is square to Saturn on one side and Mars and Mercury on the other. The Mars-Pluto square contributes a sense of urgency and intensity, perhaps wanting to exert immediate and absolute control over the erratic imbalance that pervades throughout the rest of the chart. Since this is a separating aspect (it was exact back on Apr.11), it's possible that this feeling may have its roots in the recent past.

For example, you might have made a mistake or been criticized at that time, and now feel the need to quickly correct the situation lest you be seen as incompetent. Or you might feel the expectations of others bearing down on you to achieve something that feels impossible or ill-timed or just out of proportion to the situation. Or you could be trying to succeed in a project or goal, feeling like there's a lot at stake and striving urgently to make it happen in order to avoid being judged harshly.

It may help to remember that everything develops and comes together in its own time. You can't always "push the river." No matter what kind of pressure you might be feeling from outside sources, resist the urge to become your worst critic or harshest judge. You'll go farther and accomplish more if you simply believe in yourself and do your best. And realistically, what more can anyone do anyway? Find your own reasons to do what you need to do�for yourself�rather than doing it only to please or appease someone else.

I'm available for private readings to help you find that self-validating center inside yourself that is the key to succeeding in any situation. You can find out more about readings or contact me and let me know how I can help you.

Another way to gain support for yourself is to learn astrology so that you start to understand your strengths and challenges on your own. I'm now teaching online classes, so sign up to receive my Classes Newsletter announcing upcoming courses and online events!

Apr.18 � Mars opposite Saturn (12:45 of Aries/Libra)  (Apr.19 in AU)


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This can be a difficult transit that pits your individual will and desire against anything or anyone that seem to block it. Authority figures can become adversaries who may seem to only want to say No in response to what you want to do. As a result, it is easy to polarize to others during this transit � to rebel and fight by pulling in the opposite direction. It will help if you can manage to keep a firm grip on your own Inner Adult � the part of you that is responsible and accountable � instead of letting others act out that role in your life. Alternatively, if you find it easier to be the responsible, serious, structured Adult, then it will help to embrace your own spontaneous and exuberant impulses, rather than polarizing to others who exhibit those qualities. By owning both energies in this transit, you can work with both your spontaneous impulses AND your ability to cautiously pick and choose when and how to act. This may not be easy, since these energies do not mix easily, but when they work together they can generate potent productivity, ambition and results.

Apr.19 � Mercury retrograde conjunct Mars (13:29 of Aries)  (Apr.20 in AU)

Spontaneous or impulsive words may come flying out of your mouth under this transit! If you've been struggling to keep opinions or observations to yourself, you might find it hard to keep them quiet, especially if you feel strongly about the situation. You might see things as more "cut and dried" than usual. Although you might feel frustrated if things don't happen in a direct, quick, straightforward way, it can also be a good time to make decisions and move forward with plans. On one hand, this can have a positive effect because it can give you courage to speak your mind and assert yourself candidly and honestly. On the other hand, you might also come across as abrupt, cranky, argumentative or even downright hostile, especially if you've been stuffing down anger or resentment for a while. This transit represents a new beginning in how you can handle self-assertiveness, communication and decision-making. By "listening to" your impulses, passions and urge to speak your truth, you can get an idea how your "inner voice" wants to emerge � and how to do that without annihilating the other person. ;-)

Apr.20 � Sun enters Taurus (until May.21)

Happy Solar Return to everyone born in the sign of Taurus! This is a time when we all get in touch with the part of us that wants things tangible, practical, plentiful and pleasurable! Taurus is also connected to money, finances, possessions and resources of all kinds, so this is also a time to take stock of what you HAVE in your life � literally and figuratively. Take some time to examine your values. What people, things or principles are worth spending your time, effort, energy or money? It's also an opportunity to explore how separate or enmeshed your sense of self is from your possessions. Do you think less of yourself if you can't surround yourself with wealth? What forms of abundance and blessings are in your life, and are you consciously grateful for them or do you take them for granted? Use this Taurus energy to approach goals in a methodical way, appreciate your blessings, and understand life at its most concrete, basic level. This might sound about as exciting as watching the grass grow, but the Taurus way is to slow things down enough that you can experience and take pleasure in the simple things, in the Here and Now. Enjoy it!

Apr.20 � Sun sextile Neptune (00:25 of Taurus/Pisces)  (Apr.21 in AU)

Faith in the bountiful blessings of the Universe is within reach under this transit...but then, so is the fantasy that you will be magically granted anything you wish for. Although this is mostly a very positive energy, you could become so immersed in your longing for the ideal that you have trouble dealing with the less-than-ideal realities that still must be dealt with. Gaining the benefit from this transit will still require some effort. Hope, optimism and imagination are in the air, which could bring some relief from any depression or discouragement you might be feeling. Your creativity and imagination can be very inspired under this transit. Your sense of self could also get an infusion of uplifting vision, and you may experience a sense of mission, feeling that you are truly a Child of the Universe. There is potential now to lift you out of the ordinary and into the sublime � spiritually, creatively, romantically or compassionately � although this will require your cooperation to take advantage of it. Enjoy it while it lasts, but before you make changes based on what might feel like a permanent condition, remember that this is mostly a temporary influence and you will still have to live within the bounds of the physical world after it passes. Don't make overly optimistic promises now, that you will have to fulfil later when the euphoria wears off.

Apr.21 � Venus enters Aries (until May.15)

Your style of handling relationships, finances, resources and values now take on an attitude of assertiveness, directness and the pursuit of freedom and independence. Impulse buying may be a stronger temptation than usual, so be sure you can afford whatever it is! Your way of interacting may be somewhat more direct, open or flirtatious during this transit. You may have opportunities to acquire money quickly and casually...and spend it too! You may also be more open to trying new things in the areas of finances, relationships, interactions and your values. Trying out new ideas can take you into uncharted territory...which may or may not be welcome depending on how comfortable you are with change. But this still may be just what you need to get you out of a rut in the affected areas. This can also be a good time to celebrate and appreciate yourself just as you are, as a unique individual.

Apr.22 � Venus conjunct Uranus (02:20 of Aries)  (Apr.23 in UK, AU)

The warm receptivity of Venus can become somewhat cool, detached and unpredictable when combined with Uranus. This is a good combination for carrying out a dispassionate strategy, or for networking with acquaintances and associates. It can also be a time when you might liberate yourself from old connections � for example, choosing to end a relationship, stepping away from an outworn friendship, or being open to experimenting with new kinds of connections with people. It can also be a time of impulse spending, or wanting to use your resources and finances for a humanitarian purpose. Finances may become a bit unpredictable or unstable � either bringing income when you didn't expect it, or spending it when you may or may not have. Whether you want to liberate your own life or someone else's, this is a time when freedom and independence become the focus of pleasure. Experimentation is also tempting, and while this can be invigorating, it might also leave you with consequences you hadn't anticipated. Embrace your spontaneity, but don't divorce your judgment.

Apr.23 � Mercury stationary Direct (12:53 of Aries)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets. )

For up to a week before and after today, you may experience mental intensity, confusion, and miscommunications or simply changes in your outlook. After being Retrograde for the last 3 to 3� weeks, Mercury is now taking a slow turn to resume Direct motion. This period has challenged you to rethink and rehash things that required some fine-tuning or revision. The Direct station can be a time when clearer decisions start to emerge from the issues and struggles you've encountered during the retrograde period. Or, it might turn your perspective around so that you're seeing your situation fresh again.

Over the next couple of weeks, while Mercury is still in the Shadow, your brain may feel a bit like it's gradually waking up after a deep sleep. During this time, you can gradually put into practice the learning and knowledge you've gained from your retrograde "dreams" and moonlight visions. It will take time to get fully back into sync with the Mercury direct energy. So, take it slow, one step at a time, and untangle yourself one strand at a time.

Apr.24 � Sun sextile Chiron (04:31 of Taurus/Pisces)  (Apr.25 in UK, AU)

This is a time when you have an opportunity to mend and heal the chronic struggles in your life. You may find new inspiration, motivation or confidence that can help rejuvenate waning enthusiasm or reconcile persistent problems, although you'll still have to apply effort to bring it all together. You might get the chance to demonstrate your ability to walk your own path in a new way. Or, you might get a peek inside the hidden shadow of your worries and discouragement, giving you new insight into how you might be unconsciously sabotaging your conscious efforts. You may have to face a bit of your own fear of failure or low self-esteem before you can get beyond these feelings and tap into the benefits of this transit � not because you are failing but because these concerns may arise in response to the new potential now available to you. By tapping into this potential for creative problem solving, you can bring some healing to whatever your situation is.

Apr.27 � Venus square Pluto (07:25 of Aries/Capricorn)

Relationships and interactions are likely to be deep, intense and transformative under this transit. The same goes for your sense of beauty, and your material and financial dealings, which may require you to delve far deeper than usual to discover the truth under the surface of things. You may encounter the dark shadow of your desires � the obscure, secret or unconscious hunger that hides underneath the "politically correct" face you show to the world (and to yourself. This is a challenge to be resolved in some way. It might bring out conflict rooted in envy or jealousy, if someone has something (or someone) that you feel you are entitled to. Or, it might prompt you to reach very deep into your soul to find your inner beauty and value. You may be challenged to develop empathy or empowerment about something that initially seemed undesirable, unforgivable or scary. This transit can show you the problem areas that need to be transformed and healed. And seeing these more clearly can be a catharsis that sets that transformative healing in motion.

Apr.27 � Sun trine Pluto (07:25 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (Apr.28 in UK, AU)

Your sense of purpose is strong now, as you are able to tap into a deeper level of energy and determination. Your personality is likely to be more forceful now, which can be great if you need to make a strong impression but perhaps not so much in situations requiring delicacy or subtlety. Your ability to see below the surface of things is especially clear, and it may be possible to unearth secrets or get at the core of unconscious patterns (yours or others'). This is a time when your personal presence may come across as somewhat "larger than life," so you need to remember that a little goes a long way during this transit. This could be a time when you suddenly find the strength to stand up and assert your personal power in a situation that has felt overwhelming or discouraging. On the other hand, if you are still struggling to learn how to own your power, without using nuclear bombs to make your point, you may still feel a bit overwhelmed or daunted by this transit. In that case, take smaller steps and don't try to push the river.

Apr.27 � Mini-Trine and Little Eye combined aspect figure

Mini-Trine and Little Eye aspect figures

Today there is a tight aspect figure made up of what I call a Mini-Trine (two sextiles and a trine), plus one of the sextiles is part of what the Hubers called a Little Eye (two semi-sextiles and a sextile), plus a square aspect running through it. All of the planets involved are at 7:25 of their respective signs. Although some of this energy will linger for a few days before and after today, it is the Moon that moves quickly into place today that makes it all come together.

The Mini-Trine consists of the Moon in Pisces sextile (60�) to the Taurus Sun and Capricorn Pluto, which are themselves in trine aspect (120�). This powerful combination of energies speaks of the potential to access your deep personal passion, especially for anything involving creativity or self-expression. The Little Eye includes the Moon-Sun sextile, with Venus in Aries in semi-sextile (30�) to both. That creative, self-expressive energy is forceful, fast, flashy and edgy. Venus is also in an exact square (90�) to Pluto, which adds a sense of angst which fuels that creative impulse.

You may feel a deep hunger to satisfy your passion, yet this could seem elusive or require more energy or patience than you're willing to invest in it. Or, you might be willing to pour the time and energy into what you're doing, yet find that there are other frustrating factors that take away from the satisfaction you hoped for. The point is that accessing that creative, expressive energy is likely to require you to reach deep inside into a gritty, give-it-your-all level of determination and passion, perhaps even obsession, in order to fully tap your potential. What could interfere with this is being lazy, inhibited, impatient or afraid of your inner depths. Selling yourself short is likely to leave you feeling unfulfilling, as if you had dug into a mineshaft but left most of the diamonds in the ground.

Apr.30 � Venus opposite Saturn (11:54 of Aries/Libra)  (May.01 in UK, AU)

There are realities to face and deal with, probably related to the way you handle relationships and/or finances. This is a time when you start to see a return on your investments � literally or figuratively. This could be an investment of energy, cooperation and good faith in a close relationship, or it might be the long-term development of a goal requiring financing or resources. It can be a time when "the bill comes in" and you are required to "put your money where your mouth is" and make a deeper commitment to that investment. Or, you might have to admit that the results are not what you had hoped for and you must decide whether to continue or reinvest your energies elsewhere. In other words, this is a time when something might come to an end or your situation becomes more stressful because you have some hard choices to make. The key is to take a long hard look at the realities before you � is it worth it to continue in the direction you're going? What is required if you decide to take it to the next step? The situation may demand effort, but there's also a more solid footing waiting on the other side.

May.01 � Mars conjunct Jupiter (22:20 of Aries)

"When the Moon is in the 7th House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace with guide the planets and love will steer the stars!" This quote from the song "Age of Aquarius" from the musical Hair describes this transit. When the aggression, drive, courage and desire of Mars are combined with Jupiter's love of justice, mercy and higher purpose, we can get the best of both worlds. On the other hand, we can also get the worst of both worlds; for example, self-righteousness or over-zealousness. This transit sparks a new beginning in our use of these energies, which unfolds over the next 2 years or so. The questions to ask yourself at its initiation, now, are: Will you use your energy to seek greater understanding, or to jump to conclusions? Will your courage be used to fight for justice or to blame? Will your passion and drive be used to advance a higher purpose or to inflict angry destruction in the name of judgment? The reality will probably lie somewhere in between, but awareness of which extreme you are drifting toward will allow you to make choices about whether you want to correct your course or go with the flow.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in TAURUS - May 3, 2011.

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