Low-Down Archives for May 2014

Solar Eclipse in Taurus, Full Moon in Scorpio

Chart for the Solar Eclipse ~ New Moon in Taurus
Chart for the Solar Eclipse ~ New Moon in Taurus

Cream tangerine and mont�limar,
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart,
Coffee dessert, yes you know it�s good news,
But you�ll have to have them all pulled out
after the savoy truffle.
~ George Harrison, Savoy Truffle

Apr.29 – SOLAR ECLIPSE ~ NEW MOON in TAURUS (08:51 of Taurus)


Hawaii, Alaska and PDT:

Apr.28, 2014, 8:14 to 11:14 AM

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Apr.29, 2014, 2:14 AM EDT

London, UK:

Apr.29, 2014, 6:14 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Apr.29, 2014, 5:14 PM AEST

"What's a Solar Eclipse?"

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

This Solar Eclipse is visible only in the extreme south Pacific Ocean. A partial eclipse may be seen from Antarctica and Australia. If you do venture out, do not look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection.

What's your pleasure?

A box of chocolates? (like George Harrison teased Eric Clapton with, in his song Savoy Truffle)

A caviar buffet with some handmade Russian blini?

How about something a bit more health conscious? A recipe for succulent chocolate pudding � vegan style!

Or perhaps a slice of homemade gluten-free paleo bread drizzled with golden raw organic orange blossom honey.

Food not your thing? Okay, how about a couple of weeks in the sun overlooking a crystal clear ocean?

Or hiking through the forest as the sun peeks through the trees?

Maybe a voyage in a hot air balloon overlooking a beautiful landscape.

Or a spiritual escape into paradise where you can meditate, catch up on your yoga and feel the cares of the world melt away.

Perhaps your joy comes from connection with others.

For example, finding fun and inspired things to do with your children or your grandchildren.

You might enjoy spending time with your dog or discovering new cat games.

Perhaps you would like to find a new lover, or learn more about your lover who's in your life now.

Prefer something you can see and touch? Our "stuff" can be a focus for pleasure, probably more due to the safety, security or empowerment that it represents to us.

At the extreme end of the spectrum there is increasing public awareness of a psychological disorder commonly called hoarding, which is driven by compulsive behaviour and, ironically, may suggest an inability to appreciate what one has rather than an overabundance of it.

Whether you're a collector, a lousy housekeeper, a dedicated recycler or a hoarder, in the end it's about the "stuff" and what it does for us.

Pleasure to me is wonder�the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.
~ H.P. Lovecraft

Astrologically, pleasure is associated primarily with Taurus and Venus, with some Leo and Sun thrown in the mix. Taurus is famously associated with the sometimes obsessive accumulation of "stuff" � money, investments, possessions, resources, and the organization and management of assets of all kinds.

Taurus is an Earth sign (along with Virgo and Capricorn). As such, it is concerned with what is tangible, real, solid and measurable. It brings us to our senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing. It is also about what it feels like to be in our body. Are you tense or relaxed? Do you feel an inner glow of comfort? Are you in pain? Taurus brings you into your body.

Taurus is also a Fixed sign (along with Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius). That means its purpose is the stabilization, continuity and management of its assets, even more-so than their accumulation. In other words, it's not just about making regular deposits into your bank account; it's about ensuring that it's in a safe place and ideally earning optimal interest. To truly enjoy that chocolate, you'll need to reserve the time and space necessary to avoid interruptions from a rushed schedule, distracting guilt or interference by other tastes or smells.

So: what's your pleasure?

And come to think of it, just what is pleasure?

Of course, it's whatever feels good. It's the feeling you get in response to an experience. We typically associate pleasure with a thing or activity, and yet curiously, something that evokes a good feeling in you might feel icky to me.

Discomfort is equally ironic, since something uncomfortable for me might feel wonderful to you. And then there's the somewhat bizarre extreme of pain evoking sexual pleasure for some people. ("Hurt me!" said the masochist. "No!" said the sadist.)

So, although it may seem like it's about the "stuff" � that which gives us a feeling of pleasure � it's really about our reaction to it.

When you feel pleasure, it means hormones are having a party in your brain.

There are four primary pleasure hormones and neurotransmitters that form the cornerstones of our experience of pleasure. We have endorphins to help us deal with pain, and gives us the well known connection between physical exertion and relief from depression. Dopamine gives us motivation to pursue rewards, and is believed to play a role in addiction. Oxytocin enables us to trust and bond with others, and is sometimes experimentally used to treat antisocial behaviour. And serotonin gives a feeling of empowerment and pleasure connected to food, as well as guarding against depression.

The neurons that fire together, wire together.
~ Neuroscience joke

So there is a direct and compelling link between how we think and what we feel. Jon Kabat-Zinn is well known for his books about mindfulness meditation, which is increasingly used by the Western medical system to combat stress, pain, anxiety and depression.

Even without using meditation, as such, we can use that mind-experience connection to improve our experience of life. Neuropsychologist and author, Rick Hanson, explains in a article on the Huffington Post: "...on a day to day basis, most of us don�t stay with our positive experiences long enough for them to be encoded into neural structure (meaning there's not enough wiring and firing going on). On the other hand, we naturally tend to fixate on negative experiences. Positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain, according to Hanson, and positive emotions don�t transfer as easily to long-term memory."

In Taurus terms, we can use our senses to communicate with the world around us: stop to not only smell the roses but to notice them, enjoy their splendour and appreciate how they beautify their surroundings. Taurus provides us with the tools we need to awaken to the connection between our creaturehood and the world around us. Our physical senses provide channels by which we perceive the world and provide ways to be perceived by others.

However, since we're naturally hard-wired to anticipate negative experiences, we have to work harder to find ways to remember and relive positive ones. Here's where Taurus' quest for stability and endurance can either help or hinder. If we allow ourselves to continually focus on things that are stressful, painful, aversive or unfulfilling, it is those brain cells and those memories that get fed. It is crucial to regularly pursue and engage positive experiences in order to feed and nourish the pleasure centres in the mind, body and spirit. Without that, we risk becoming imbalanced; overly invested in the negative while becoming dismissive or even cynical about the positive.

It follows that when our lives are saturated with being busy, stressed out, afraid, bored, sad, angry, lonely, isolated or worried, we are denying our happiness hormones their well deserved and much needed party time. It's so easy to become apathetic about potential good feelings when we're drowning in bad ones.

Mind you, like everything else in astrology and life, positive experiences can be used in a counterproductive way, and bad ones can be used for healing and reconciliation. When we continually try to shift difficult feelings with little or no success (or only manage to do so with the help of addictive substances or compulsive behaviour), it usually means we must turn and face whatever we're running from. Like the monster in our dreams that is really a projection of something inside of us, the most constructive way to deal with it is to confront it and ask it what it wants.

Doctor, my eyes have seen the years,
And the slow parade of fears without crying,
Now I want to understand.
I have done all that I could,
To see the evil and the good without hiding,
You must help me if you can.
Doctor, my eyes: tell me what is wrong,
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?
~ Jackson Browne

So what does all this have to do with a Solar Eclipse in Taurus? Everything, of course. A Solar Eclipse in general tends to shake things up. The Moon (feelings, especially unconscious ones) temporarily blocks the Sun (our conscious sense of self and our purpose). In a physical solar eclipse, this allows us a more direct view of the Sun's rays, and although this may be beautiful and fascinating it is also highly dangerous. This is why you must not look directly at a solar eclipse without proper eye protection, or you risk doing permanent damage to your eyesight.

Metaphorically, a solar eclipse gives us access to awareness about ourselves and the world around us that can be potentially overwhelming or disruptive. At its most powerful, an eclipse can shake us to our core so that we don't see life in quite the same way anymore. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and is usually necessary to our growth. However, it helps to have the equivalent of special eclipse glasses that will give us a way of framing and understanding what is happening to us.

Enter Mercury, who is conjunct the Sun and Moon at the time of the eclipse. Mercury is tailor made to provide a structured, evenly-paced way of viewing events and experiences. Mercury's job is to slow down our perception enough that we avoid becoming overwhelmed by whatever we're going through. If we eat something too fast, the stomach rebels and may chuck it back up again. Mercury wants to help us take one bite of information at a time, chew it and swallow before taking another.

If you like doing things quickly, this might feel like you're losing ground or being left behind by turmoil happening around you. In addition to Mercury's natural pace being faster than Taurus' usual tortoise-speed, Mercury is irritatingly quincunx Mars (which always likes to do things fast), and Mercury is also opposite Saturn (which insists things must be done slowly).

Trying to speed up Mercury � your experience and mental processing of events � will be like trying to push the river. All that's likely to come of it is a lot of turmoil and delay from disturbing and getting out of sync with the steady current of life around you. Paddling a bit faster within the flow of events might be more successful, but it will probably still be necessary to stay in sync with the rhythm and direction of those events.

Patience, grasshopper.

You're probably right where you need to be right now, and if you're not then it's probably wiser to take a bit of time to choose your direction carefully rather than lunge impulsively.

But it seemed to me that this was the way we all lived: full to the brim with gratitude and joy one day, wrecked on the rocks the next. Finding the balance between the two was the art and the salvation.
~ Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures

Both the Sun-Moon conjunction (i.e. the solar eclipse) and Mercury are also part of a Grand Trine Kite aspect pattern that includes trine aspects between Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron. The Grand Trine part of this configuration is just starting to form and will be with us until mid-June. These slow-moving planetary energies can bring together insight, healing and structure. Potentially this can rebuild your outlook on life in a way that is both more optimistic and well grounded, and therefore healing in a natural, gradual way.

Grand Trine Kite aspect pattern

Mercury and the solar eclipse provide the spark that ignites this planetary lantern and sets it aglow over the next 6-7 weeks. The friction creating the spark comes from their opposition to Saturn. Although the Sun and Moon are a bit too wide (12�) to really count them as opposite Saturn, Mercury is aspecting them all and bridges the gap to connect the energies.

Soaking up the benefit of this Water Grand Trine may require you to dig a little deeper into your wounded nature and embrace whatever struggle you have around it. It may be necessary to confront any tendency you might have to escape from truly dealing with the wound itself. In other words, watch to see if you might be suffering for the sake of suffering, rather than it be a natural by-product of the struggle.

Alternatively, check to see if you might be hiding "inside of" the wound; in other words, where the pain of the wound seems preferable to doing the actual work of healing it.

Moving through the days, weeks and months beyond this eclipse, you may discover that these ironic issues are actually blocking you from further healing. That said, this is also a time when you can start to put structures into place that will bring a healing balance to these energies. For example, an experience of suffering could be used a barometer of awareness to gauge how close you are to the centre of the issue you're struggling with � the distress you feel could illuminate the place where you'll find valuable insight that can bring you beyond the suffering.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
~ George Gordon Byron

The planetary ruler of Taurus, Venus, is currently exalted in Pisces, where she glows in the pre-dawn sky (and is where you might see her these days). This gives a boost to Taurus' pleasure quotient, especially when focused on activities and experiences that have some higher purpose or meaning for you.

Venus and the Moon just before dawn

Venus is still in trine aspect to Saturn (exact on Apr.25), which will help to keep her grounded. With anything in Pisces there is always the potential to aim for what seems like a worthwhile destination that turns out to be little more than a dream (or at worst, a nightmare). The more you make friends with Saturn (doing things gradually, patiently and responsibly), the more the Venus part of you will bond with the constructive side of Saturn.

On the other hand, if you break out in hives at the thought of having to linger in the moment no matter now boring or difficult it is, Venus could try to alleviate your boredom or distress with some escapism. That's not always a bad thing as long as it doesn't become compulsive, reckless or unconscious. In that case, it calls for some careful awareness and scrutiny to understand what is driving the pattern.

Greed is a way of avoiding making choices: if I have everything, I don't have to choose what I want.
And choosing what I want means giving up some pleasures for other pleasures.
~ Adam Phillips, On Balance

Getting back to Taurus and the pleasure principle, there are strong potential benefits from the Grand Trine Kite, but you may have to deal with some discomfort or difficulty in order to get to them. As mentioned above, it will help to establish a pattern of balancing negative or stressful experiences with positive and joyful ones.

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In fact, the best way to acquire the Grand Trine's healing balance is to actually build that structure, brick by brick, experience by experience, intention by intention. Just as you won't see a finished building when you're still just laying the groundwork, you might not get a lot of pleasurable feeling from doing positive things at first. That doesn't mean you should give up on it or abandon the project.

Taurus is about building habits. Walking and running start with one step followed by another step, and at first this takes extra effort � sometimes extraordinary effort if you've gotten into the habit of not walking or running. The more you keep going with it, the more you'll develop your positive experience muscles and the more your body � physical, emotional, spiritual or mental � will relearn how to generate and boost those pleasure hormones.

If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness, not my miscarriages or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough.
~ Audrey Hepburn

Apr.29 – Mercury trine Pluto (13:31 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (Apr.30 in AU)

It is possible to dive deep below the surface now, in your perception of situations, other people and yourself. If you have been working on trying to understand the deeper motivations and dynamics of what is happening in your life, there could be a breakthrough now. The light may finally go on in the darker corners that have eluded you, and your penetrating insight. You could find a way to articulate these perceptions and speak your mind in a way that is unusually powerful or intense (so be careful you don't inadvertently blow your audience out of the water). This transit can bring an opportunity to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions or ineffective forms of communication. Try writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit. This is the only exact pass for this transit, since Pluto was out of range when Mercury came through this area two months ago.

Apr.30 – Mercury sextile Jupiter (14:52 of Taurus/Cancer)   (Apr.29 in HAST)

You may have an abundance of ideas and words to express them under this transit. There is the potential (if you reach for it) to put ideas, facts and thoughts together into a cohesive whole. You may find you can understand the overall patterns in a situation, or you are able to see the Big Picture, better than usual. New insights and a change of perspective may abound, as your stream of consciousness flows abundantly with optimism and visionary possibilities. You may find yourself more talkative than usual, as you try to share and convey the new ideas, inspiration and knowledge coming into your mind. Write down your best ideas for later development, since you may be having too much fun now playing with ideas to want to stop and make them manifest just yet. There is a chance that you may be so elated and confident that you might come across as a bit overbearing or even as a "know-it-all," so be sure to listen too.

Apr.30-Jun.17 – Grand Trine - Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron (14-20� Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)

Grand Trine aspect pattern

For about 7 weeks we have a Grand Trine aspect pattern with Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron. This energy is similar to the Grand Trine that graced our skies in 2013 from Jun.22-Aug.12, when Jupiter (at that time conjoined by Mars) formed a Grand Trine with Saturn and Neptune. This time Chiron takes Neptune's place, swapping out idealistic imagination and faith in favour of healing through struggle and surrender to the shaping power of limitations. I'm sure Mars would be happy to join Jupiter again in this Grand Trine but right now he's a little busy finishing up the Cardinal Grand Cross with Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto.

These slow-moving planetary energies can bring together insight, healing and structure. Potentially this can rebuild your outlook on life in a way that is both more optimistic and well grounded, and therefore healing in a natural, gradual way. The key is to allow it to come gradually and to allow a balance to form between Jupiter's quest to reach out for idealized optimism and Saturn's agenda to deal with the hard, unvarnished facts of reality.

For more about how to tap into the Grand Trine energy, read the article for the Apr.29 Solar Eclipse in Taurus, above.

May.01 – Mercury sextile Chiron (16:38 of Taurus/Pisces)  (Apr.30 in HAST, AKT, PDT, MDT, CDT)

Your mental focus and communication could get an injection of healing energy under this transit, as long as you are prepared to put some effort into getting it. Your spirits can become uplifted now, from seeing a light at the end of the tunnel or from finding a light that guides you along the path in front of you. It will not, however, make the tunnel or the path go away; you'll still have to walk the walk. But your mental perspective can become more accepting of inconsistencies and frustrations under this transit, which can alleviate a lot of stress and make the journey a bit smoother. Mental struggles and critical "self-talk" may find some reconciliation and acceptance that brings peace of mind. You have an increased ability to find the right words and understanding to help others with their problems, by providing insightful feedback. To get the most out of this transit, aim to find a mental outlook and communication style that can tolerate contradiction without having to eradicate one in order to justify the other.

May.02 – Mercury opposite Saturn (20:35 of Taurus/Scorpio)  (May.03 in UK, AU)

The time has come to face facts. There may be a reality in your life that you've been avoiding, and you need to accept and deal with it. Or, you might have to conform to the expectations of others because there's no other way around it. Or, you could find that your ability to communicate, say what you want to say, or get your point across is harder for a few days. This will pass, but there may be concrete reasons why this might not be the best time to communicate whatever is on your mind. You might feel a bit as if you're being tested, and in some way this could be true. This transit may bring an opportunity to see how much you really know and how skilled you are at using that knowledge. On the other hand, this could be a time when hard work and preparation that you've done for several months could pay off. You may be able to progress to the next step in a project, or to make plans in an organised, concrete and responsible way. For a few days, taking a structured, methodical or factual approach to whatever you're doing may produce the best results.

May.02 – Venus enters Aries (until May.28)  (May.03 in UK, AU)

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.

May.03 – Sun trine Pluto (13:29 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (May.04 in 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.

May.06 – Sun sextile Jupiter (15:48 of Taurus/Cancer)

This is a time when your understanding of the Big Picture and your place within it has the potential to click into place. As a result, your confidence and self-esteem can be quite high right now. Your ability to see opportunities and possibilities more clearly can produce an experience of being "lucky." Your insight into life and the world around you may be especially bright, optimistic and inspired. This is a "feel-good" transit, when your sense of self can seem to expand and become free. You may feel especially connected to spiritual energy during this time. Just be careful that all this self-assurance and "knowing" doesn't backfire, by overestimating the extent of your knowledge or underestimating the reaction of your audience. It is possible to become a bit self-indulgent under this transit, so be careful not to overdo it. Beyond a reasonable caution, this is a transit to enjoy!

May.07 – Sun sextile Chiron (16:53 of Taurus/Pisces)  (May.08 in 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.

May.07 – Mercury enters Gemini (until May.29)  (May.08 in AU)

Mercury is the planetary ruler of Gemini, so the mind wants to fly fast and free. Communication and perceptions may come and go like a fresh breeze through an open window. This can create a wide variety of ideas but not necessarily productive application of those ideas. You might find it a little easier to articulate words, sharpen your mental focus, and collect and analyze your thoughts and information. This can give wings to your ideas and self-expression, but remember that you'll have to back up any promises and "fast talk" with action and substance. Let this be a time to explore possibilities and enjoy social interaction, rather than jump to final conclusions. Collect the raw data and exchange ideas, but be aware that understanding the broader meaning will likely come later.

May.10 – Sun opposite Saturn (20:01 of Taurus/Scorpio)  (May.11 in 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.

May.11 – Venus opposite Mars Retrograde (09:30 of Aries/Libra)  (May.10 in HAST)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect.)

Your receptive, diplomatic side is arguing with your assertive, upfront side. The result can be either a battle of wills between Yin and Yang (yours or others'), or a new creative dynamic that brings both into a new balance. This could manifest in the form of relationship issues, financial struggles, or arguments about control. Or, you might feel it is time to take action with plans that have been percolating for a while, especially related to beauty, love, relationships, money, spending and negotiation. If you're usually more comfortable with Yin energy (receptive, diplomatic, beauty oriented), you might feel unusually sensitive to aggressive or forceful energy from others. At worst, you might feel backed into a corner or even bullied by someone who comes across as angry, pushy or (over)enthusiastic. If you're more at home with Yang energy (assertive, action-oriented, direct), you may feel pressured or manipulated to tone down your energy level to make it more socially acceptable. Either way, this is about finding a new cooperative balance that works for both sides, through compromise, negotiation and conflict resolution.

Venus and Mars are in Mutual Reception (in each other's signs), which also means they are both in Detriment. Equally disadvantaged! But they each also have many of the gifts and benefits that are usually the domain of the other. And yet, it gives them a common ground too � they understand the blessings and predicaments that the other is experiencing because it's about their home turf (their own sign). This can provide an even stronger sense of balance and complementary energies as Venus and Mars oppose each other, if they can work cooperatively.

On the other hand, if Mars insists on competing against each other, in an effort to disown the feminine qualities of Libra and Venus, you could wind up feeling like you're in the middle of a tug of war between the part of you that can and wants to cooperate within a conflict situation versus the part of you that wants to vanquish the enemy and wipe the slate clean of any trace of something you feel threatened by. Or, alternatively, too much Venus could bring out a short-sighted side of cooperation, where you collaborate only for your own benefit, possibly at the expense of being excessively aggressive in order to defend your own security.

Best to aim for an awareness of both capabilities inside you – conscious cooperation and caring, as well as assertive action and competitiveness. Find ways for them to play together and be each other's allies, ultimately for the good of all around you.

May.11 – Mercury square Neptune (07:21 of Gemini/Pisces)

Your mental focus may be a bit clouded, confused or lethargic right now, as your conscious mind struggles to grasp the formless, limitless expanse of the Universe and the unconscious. You may experience some disillusionment or disappointment, in your observations or communication with others. However, what is flowing under the surface of events right now is the need to dissolve away the crust of old expectations that blocks your view from seeing a greater Truth. If you're feeling off-balance, try to listen more than you talk, so that you can be receptive to your inner sensitivity. Left-brain analysis might be difficult to work with right now unless you balance it with a lot of right-brain intuition. You may have to let go of a rigid mindset, or give up what you think you understand about a situation in your life, in order to open yourself to a new perspective that is difficult to define but is ultimately in the best interest of your spiritual growth.

May.12 – Mercury trine Mars Retrograde (09:22 of Gemini/Libra)  (May.13 in AU)

It may be easy to find the courage to speak your mind and say what needs to be said under this transit. In fact, your ideas and words may come so quickly and easily that it's hard to stop them from tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to evaluate the best way to say them. Your communication is likely to be direct, concise and right on the mark, even if it might also be a bit blunt or pointed. If you need to confront someone about a difficult situation, this transit can provide courage and clear words to help you do that – although perhaps not as good for a situation requiring a more delicate, sensitive touch. It is a time when you could potentially find the nerve to take risks, or to defend yourself if the need arises (especially verbally). Overall, this is a wonderful transit for anything involving direct communication (e.g., public speaking, writing, debating), as well as mental agility (e.g., generating ideas, finding solutions, making decisions).

May.14 – Jupiter trine Chiron (17:08 of Cancer/Pisces)

Trines often have a way of passing by unnoticed, which is usually because the energy just allows things to feel "as they should be." As a result, you may find you just coast along and relax, basking in the break in the usual turmoil without thinking about it much. In this case, you may experience this relaxation from stress in the areas of physical health and/or mental outlook. Much depends on where your "wound" is � physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, etc. As a result, you might go through a couple/few weeks of feeling more optimistic about things that usually feel difficult or stressful. You may find it easier to feel good about yourself, your life, your body, etc. Or you might feel more accepted or included by a world in which you often feel awkward or alienated. This shift in energy might come to you through an opportunity or event that allows things to fall into place more easily, or you might become open to a new mental perspective that gives you fresh hope for improvement.

There's a chance that this transit might also aggravate that "woundedness" in some way. Jupiter often amplifies whatever it touches, so if you are struggling with physical health issues, low self-esteem, feeling socially out of sync or overly cynical, this transit might magnify those issues and lead you to want to hide out in the dark recesses of your cave. The good news is that if this happens, it gives you a chance to take a close-up look at what is haunting you, and if you pay attention it could lead you into a new way of dealing with it all. If you get stuck in just feeling overwhelmed by it all, take some time out to do things that remind you of how things could look when viewed in a positive light. For example, do something to pamper your body, or listen to music that soothes the soul, or do something to decorate your cave, or go outside to a place that nourishes your spirit.

May.14 – Venus square Pluto (13:21 of Aries/Capricorn)  (May.15 in AU)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect.)

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.

Chart for the Full Moon in Scorpio
Chart for the Full Moon in Scorpio

You seek problems because you need their gifts.
~ Richard Bach, Illusions:
The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

May.14 – FULL MOON in SCORPIO (23:54 of Taurus)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

May.14, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

London, UK:

May.14, 2014, 7:15 PM BST

Sydney, AU:

May.15, 2014, 6:15 AM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

When you deal with Saturn, there's very little (if any) room for fluffy thinking.

Saturn says, "This is it. Take it or leave it. Choose this door and you'll get what's on the other side. Choose the other door and you'll get what's on the other side of that one."

Cause and effect. Choices and consequences.

Saturn is our mediator with physical reality and all its limitations, boundaries, structure and rough edges.

Ignore Saturn, and your relationship with the physical world can get real "interesting" real fast. Okay, maybe not today or tomorrow, but the alarm clock ticks in its own time and he'll let you know when it's time to wake up. And if you've been hiding from him, that wake-up call can feel like you've been smacked upside the head with a bag of dirt.

Saturn is important any old time, but especially now because Saturn is conjunct the Full Moon in Scorpio.

Prepare to be "interested."

And that's the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.
~ Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

Scorpio can be blunt at the best of times, never mind when Saturn is doing the talking.

Put the two together (as they have been since Oct. 2012) and at worst they can get pretty abrupt, caustic and controlling. They might even raise physical survival as an issue that must be dealt with in some form.

At its most raw extreme, Scorpio can be about as cute and cuddly as a rattlesnake. Add Saturn to the mix and you better have some good snake-handling skills and tools to avoid getting bitten. And an anti-venom kit wouldn't hurt either, perhaps in the form of a therapist or trusted friend who can assure you you're not going crazy and that things don't have to be as bad as they might seem. (And if you are going crazy, it will help to have someone who can help you find a safe place where you can heal.)

On the other hand, at their best those rattlesnake fangs can become a surgeon's scalpel made of insight and forthrightness, which can cut deep into the heart of the matter and deftly remove the problem. Scorpio's snake venom may be poisonous, but the same toxicity that makes it dangerous can also have potentially healing benefits for various medical conditions like blood clots, cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Even scorpion venom shows some promise in the treatment of physical pain.

Scorpio energy might be hard to handle sometimes but this isn't always a bad thing. One way or another, that struggle ultimately part of the ordeal that brings Scorpio transformation. Scorpio may be straightforward, but there's nothing simplistic about this energy.

Saturn in Scorpio says: it's time to decide what is real and authentic in the deepest part of your heart. What are you going to do with it? What are you going to do about it? None of your options will be ideal, so... scorpion or viper? It's time to pick your poison.

A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another,
may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.
~ Ernest Hemingway

So what are Saturn and the Moon doing in Scorpio together? Anything they want to, I'd say. ;-)

The Moon is in its Fall in Scorpio, so this fluffy, cuddly celestial character is not a happy camper when there. And with Saturn as her henchman, it doesn't exactly sound like party time. Think of Grumpy Cat scowling in a dark corner, baring her fangs at the sign of a threat.

The Moon is our feelings, needs and instinct for bonding. The Moon part of us is fluid, easily spilled and splattered, and vulnerable to outside influences. This can be beneficial, as with the bonding we need as social beings, or it can be problematic, as in being manipulated through our feelings for someone else's purposes.

Saturn in combination with the Moon can be either friend or foe. To keep our Moon nature healthy and authentic, we need firm boundaries, reasonable expectations and reliable structure in our lives, which can allow us to function well. It's not all we need, of course, but the Moon part of us is tender and needs protection, safety and trust. It's hard to get that in an environment that has too many surprises, uncertainty or danger.

This is part of the reason why the Moon finds Scorpio a bit hot to handle, since Scorpio loves to hurl itself into the deepest part of the water without a life jacket. It takes enormous trust to face and connect with the darkness of unknown waters and deep feelings.

Saturn's structure, caution, slowness and groundedness can provide a potential lifeline to the Moon part of us when we get lost in the emotional depths. When we need a break from the emotional intensity, drama or stress, Saturn's discipline can slow things down and give us a way to deal with things "one trauma at a time."

I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have.
~ Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

At least, that's what can happen when things are going well. If, on the other hand, you've been putting off making better choices for yourself, there's only so much delay and bad choices that can be folded into the flow of life before it reaches the saturation point. And then you bog down.

It's like when you put off taking out the recycling. You keep piling it in a blue bin, telling yourself you'll take it out tomorrow, until one day nothing will stay on the pile; it just rolls off onto the floor. That's when you know you can't delay it any longer. You've simply got to get off the couch and take out the #&*% recycling. (Not that I've had any experience with this, of course...)

And then there's the power struggle between what the Moon wants and what Saturn thinks is best. Child and Parent parts of us argue back and forth with each other, while the Moon Child says, "But I NEED this!" and the Saturn Parent replies, " But you can't HAVE this!"

It's tempting to say "Saturn knows best, so eat your (name of hated vegetable goes here) and be thankful for it." And the Saturn part of us that would deny us usually does have our best interests at heart. On the other hand, despite good intentions, Saturn can sometimes get overbearing and stuck in authoritarian mode. This often happens when the Moon Child feels especially vulnerable and doesn't know how to trust or feel safe, so Saturn keeps responding to continual requests for safety and protection...to the point where the Child can feel smothered, resentful and rebellious, and then out comes the Inner Brat.

When this happens, it's a complicated psychological scenario, and it helps to spend some time exploring what each part of you is trying to do and what it needs in order to relax and let its guard down. This is where a therapist, astrologer or other support person skilled in the intricacies of human nature can be a valuable resource.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
~ Oscar Wilde

So Saturn's effect on the Scorpio Full Moon could go in a number of different directions. Something could become delayed, blocked or even come to an end. This could indicate that there is benefit to be found in waiting, reconsidering, or even choosing a whole different direction. If this happens, it may or may not mean you've taken a wrong turn at the crossroads � it might simply mean that you need time to catch your breath, regroup and start again after you've become more grounded and centred.

Another possibility is that procrastinating or trying to steer away from something "negative" won't work, and you have to simply deal with whatever it is. Whether it's taking out the recycling, getting back to that fitness routine, having that difficult talk with someone, or perhaps finally acknowledging that you're feeling overwhelmed and need some extra support, this Full Moon could be the time when your personal recycling bin simply won't take one more thing and you just have to deal with it.

Saturn's role in the Full Moon chart could also signal that it's time to commit to something. Have you been half-dabbling at something? Maybe it's time to really decide if you're going to stick with it or let it go. Either invest more of yourself in what you've already started, or drop it and invest your energy in something else that will bring more value into your life.

For example, if you've been struggling in a job you're not thrilled with, you might find you can't sit on the fence about it any longer, with one foot planted inside and the other foot heading out the door. It may be time to either choose to stay and make the best of it, or start looking for another job. Being so divided is stressful, and we can tolerate stress for only so long. Find a way to make it your own or find a way to walk away from it. As the old Scorpionic saying goes: poop or get off the pot.

Another possibility is that you could feel some depression, lethargy, lack of physical energy or discouragement with Saturn on the Full Moon. As much as these feelings are no fun, there's usually a message for us in them, and if you let yourself just listen to them you can often hear surprising things. For instance, maybe there is sadness underneath that is about unresolved grief over a loss of some kind. Or you might discover that you really are not happy in a certain situation and realize that all the smiles and wishful thinking in the world aren't going to change how you really feel about it.

What you decide you need to do is your next step, but in order to take that step you must first admit where you are now. These deeper, heavier feelings often just need to be heard and acknowledged, and doing so will shift them enough that your conscious intention can take it from there to create change.

Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.
~ Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Saturn is now a full-fledged member of the Grand Water Trine Trio that began back around the Solar Eclipse in Taurus (Apr.29). Saturn (in Scorpio) is in cahoots with Jupiter (Cancer) and Chiron (Pisces), and these three will be dancing around the Maypole until mid-June. The Grand Trine is good news, considering the high stress level in the rest of the chart (between Saturn conjunct the Scorpio Full Moon and the Cardinal Grand Cross still lingering in the air).

Grand Water Trine Trio

The Trio can bring an ease of opportunity to things involving healing and spiritual struggle (Chiron), aspiration and vision (Jupiter), commitment and clarity (Saturn). These energies can come together to support a gradual evolution of ambition and goals, in a way that is inspiring without having to walk on your tippy-toes to reach it. Being in Water signs, this can be an awesome time for creative projects, emotional stability and realistic expectations that support your intentions.

Nothing is ever all good, of course, so at its worst this Grand Trine could make it all too easy to dig your heels into a counterproductive position and stay stuck. Perhaps you are using arrogance as self-protection, refusing to listen to outside advice or ideas. Or maybe it's just easier to give up trying and surrender to suffering, possibly mistaking that drowning sensation for the experience of going with the flow. With Saturn so prominent right now, a reality check once in a while is always a good idea, to make sure you haven't wandered down a path that's not in your best interest.

The Sun-Moon opposition acts as a bit of a lightning rod for the Grand Trine. The orbs are a bit wide to call it a proper Grand Trine Kite figure, but the Sun-Moon axis is still likely to bring a Kite-like effect. What does that mean? It means that the best way to tap into the Grand Trine easy flowing energy in a positive way is to meet the challenge of the Sun-Moon opposition. In other words, by delving into your emotional and creative depths, combined with a good solid grounding in realism, it will open up greater avenues to creativity, emotional stability and healing.

This dynamic goes both ways, too. By using tools and resources of creativity, artistry, connection with others and gathering emotional support, it can help you face the struggles of the Moon/Saturn/Sun challenges.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
~ Gloria Steinem

The Cardinal Grand Cross is technically broken by now, even though its influence is likely to linger for a while longer. Mars has retrograded back far enough, and Jupiter has advanced far enough, that they are now technically out of orb for the Mars-Jupiter square. The Grand Cross has lost its quadrilateral symmetry and now for some reason reminds me of the wobbly head of a Pterodactyl.

Two Grand Cross T-Square Aspect Patterns

What's left are two T-square aspect patterns: Mars opposite Uranus (and Venus) with Pluto squaring, and Jupiter opposite Pluto with Uranus squaring. The Mars-Jupiter square will recede somewhat for a little while, since only very wide orbs will bring them together � 10:36 degrees at their widest on Jun.05-06. Mars catches up to square Jupiter on Aug.01, so their combined energies will be with us for quite a while yet.

Although 10� is too wide for a square aspect to have much strength, considering their Cardinal Cross history and their pending square in August, the Mars-Jupiter square will likely hang around in the background until the orb starts to close again in June. (They reach 6� orb on Jun.11 and stay within 6� until Aug.18. Read more about the Cardinal Cross in 2014, including key dates.)

That means Mars still has some homework for you, and the Full Moon in Scorpio (traditionally ruled by Mars) will likely be a focus for Mars issues that you've been challenged by for the last 5 months or so. These issues include: anger, hostility/resentment, defiance, sexuality, assertiveness, impulsiveness, pursuit of what you want, physical energy and life force.

The stressful square to Jupiter gives Mars an edge of seeking the very highest ideals, ready to do battle to defend The Forces of Good and fight against The Forces of Evil. This is, of course, a double edged sword befitting both a valiant and brave-hearted Mars and an arrogant, self-righteous Mars that would blame, shame and condemn that which is different, poorly understood or less than perfect.

Besides the Cardinal Cross, the Really Big Deal about Mars that spices up this Scorpio Full Moon is that Mars turns Direct on May.19/20. He's going pretty slow at the time of the Full Moon � not technically stationary, but darn close, being only 5 days away. This slowness and the pending station mean that Mars' presence will be felt at the Full Moon in some form and will linger through to the next New Moon (in Gemini on May.28). Although the energy should start to open up and move forward more easily after the 19th, this will probably happen gradually until he's had a chance to have his post-retrograde coffee and get up to speed again.

We've been in a long drawn out wrestling match with Mars since just before the New Year when he went into the shadow (Dec.26) and especially since he went retrograde (Mar.01). Have you felt Mars' efforts to force�er, find a better balance in your life? Is there something you've struggled with where you tend to swing too far to one side, and then try to pull yourself back to the other side, perhaps by swinging to the other extreme? Or maybe you've tried to make progress with something but wound up stuck and confounded by too many options or unable to choose between them?

How have you engaged your will power in order to change something that isn't working well or to accomplish something that sparks your ambition? Have you felt overwhelmed or swept away by anger, aggression or depression � yours or others' � or perhaps you're learning to stand up for what you believe in and stand your ground?

My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.
~ William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

If you don't feel you've succeeded yet, don't let Saturn's critical side drag you down. First of all, this isn't a race � it's life. And life is to be lived, not rushed through. Scorpio knows how to savour the intensity that is the very marrow of living experience. At the same time, there's something to learn from this unique Mars retrograde cycle � unique because of the Cardinal Grand Cross it creates with some Very Big Boys out there in Solar System Land.

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So it's a good time to avoid running away from trying your best, even while it's important to give yourself some room to be human and make mistakes. If you trip up every time you try to move forward, there is very likely something getting in your way that you still need to learn about and deal with first. It's good to stay in the struggle without being too hard on yourself.

If life is difficult right now and you're concerned about not having progressed further in whatever you're trying to accomplish, Saturn might be pulling you back into the struggle so that you will keep getting closer to the finish line.

This Scorpio New Moon conjunct Saturn, and ruled by Mars on the verge of a station, is about the spark that nudges the transformative process at its deepest levels. The biggest benefit that can come from the next few weeks and months is a gradual yet profound shift in perspective and direction. Think of it as trying to turn a huge ship on the water. It's not going to happen fast! But gradually the bow will begin to point toward a new direction and will stabilize there.

This is about the long run (Saturn is saying), so don't mistake some setbacks or delays for failure. You don't have to win every battle to still win the war. Keep your eyes on your intended horizon and cultivate patience and persistence. Cultivate a sense of knowing and acceptance inside yourself that is receptive to your deepest feelings, insights, observations, urges and fears while remaining centered and grounded inside.

Then just listen... You'll hear what you need to hear to keep your ship inching toward a better direction.

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
~ Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

May.15 – Mercury sextile Venus (14:42 of Gemini/Aries)  (May.16 in AU)

There is a potential to benefit from social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness during this transit, although a certain amount of effort is needed to make this happen. It can be a good time for negotiating contracts and other agreements, especially if you consciously focus your intent on achieving balance with your counterpart, partner or opponent that results in a win-win situation for all concerned. There is also potential to appreciate and express beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone in your life that you want to get closer to, try speaking gently and listening receptively, which can be the key that opens the door to harmonious interaction. Creative ideas can also find expression now if you apply your conscious awareness to bring them into focus. The thing to watch for is a tendency to use manipulation to achieve an advantage, which might be done by you or to you. Keep communication straightforward and clear, and find diplomatic ways to deal with manipulation if you sense it happening.

May.15 – Mercury sextile Uranus (14:48 of Gemini/Aries)  (May.16 in AU)

There is potential for brilliance and excitement under this transit. You may be more spontaneous, upbeat and eccentric than usual. If you are used to a fairly predictable lifestyle, it is a time when you may be inspired to experiment with something out of character. If you are used to being whacky, zany and impulsive, this transit can provide opportunities to express this. You may have an increased ability to "think outside the box" if you stretch your mind a little, and there is the possibility of having an "ah-ha!" experience, when answers and realisations fall into place. There is also the possibility of being mentally restless, so that it's hard to slow down your thoughts or apply yourself seriously to your responsibilities. Your attention span may be a bit short for a couple of days. This energy can be used to consider new ideas that seemed outlandish or impossible before, and see new potential in them.

May.15 – Venus conjunct Uranus (14:48 of Aries)  (May.16 in AU)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect.)

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.

May.17 – Mercury square Chiron (17:14 of Gemini/Pisces)  (May.18 in AU)

Your mental focus and perceptions may feel a bit strained right now. You could find yourself locked in a struggle of indecision that stems from a "glass half empty" versus "glass half full" dilemma. It may be difficult to stay objective and evenly balanced in your perspective, but by working with this you could also find a new mental focus that gives you increased clarity. It might be tempting to sink into cynicism as a way to deal with what seems like a no-win situation. On the other hand, this transit could bring your mental perspective to a kind of "healing crisis" that forces you to get a better grip on the ideas, communication and frame of mind that have been problematic for you. Instead of reaching for extremes (hoping this will clarify the path in front of you), it will help more if you can take a few steps back to allow all the conflicting and out-of-sync elements to coexist together – creative paradox. If you have been in denial about something, this could be a turning point that allows you to grapple with the complex reality of your situation.

May.18 – Venus square Jupiter (17:52 of Aries/Cancer)  (May.19 in AU)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect.)

"Your eyes are bigger than your stomach" (as Mom used to say). That means you are more likely now to over-indulge, especially in the areas of relationships, spending, desires, pleasure and social contact. Your desire for fulfilment and satisfaction may exceed your resources, and you might not even realise it until the bill comes in later (probably under a Saturn transit ;-). You may also find you require more knowledge, understanding, faith, freedom or optimism than you have available, making it tempting to compensate by inflating what you really have. For example, you might want to resort to flattery, manipulation or over-optimism in an effort to make up for a lack of genuine confidence, rapport or preparation. However, this can also be a time when your creativity is running high and you are able to pull rabbits out of your hat on a moment's notice. The problem is that you could over-extend yourself by doing so.

May.19 – Mars Stationary Direct (09:01 of Libra; until Apr.17.2016)  (May.20 in UK, AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read my article about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date, your energy could feel intense, erratic, volatile or liberated. After being retrograde for the last 10 weeks or so, the energy that has been coiling during that time now begins to release. Low energy will likely return: suddenly, erratically, forcefully or gradually. It's possible you may reach a point of decision about issues you have been struggling with in the past 2-4 months.

If you've been working on preparing or planning for a new project, the station could begin the launch process. If issues about anger, sexuality, assertiveness or courage have been a thorn in your side for the last few months, this begins the phase when you will start to apply what you've learned and cultivated. It could begin with a resolution to your frustrations, or possibly bringing the problem to the surface where you will need to deal with it directly.

Depending on how constructively and therapeutically you have been working with these issues, this resolution could be a positive time of self-empowerment, or it could produce an explosion of the urge to control and force others to bend to your will (or someone else behaving that way around you). Over the coming two months, while Mars is still in the Shadow, you will apply and integrate the energy and learning that has been gathered and is now being released.

Mars is a critical corner of the Cardinal Grand Cross. As a result, this station could give you a bit of vertigo through your energy level, your stress level or your motivational focus. Best to hold on tight and ride out the energy. It might feel a bit like you're on a wild roller coaster, with the accompanying shrieks of either fear or excitement or both. If you get overwhelmed, take some time out � don't try to be invincible. If your energy, motivation, emotions or determination take a dive, do the best you can and give yourself lots of room to coast, sleep, feel whatever you feel and catch your breath. In other words, be gentle with yourself and those around you. Everyone's been going through a stressful or challenging time lately and it can help to give everyone � including yourself � some extra space to make mistakes or to complete their mission.

May.20 – Sun enters Gemini (until Jun.21) (May.21 in NDT, UK, AU)

Happy Solar Return to everyone born in the sign of Gemini! This is the time of year for the cosmic Twins to party, but it is also a time for all of us to explore our dual nature and our sentient awareness that emerges from it. Communication and exchange of information and ideas are specialties of Gemini, and this period brings these areas into focus for everyone. If you're looking for ideas to explore your Gemini nature, try writing your thoughts down, or listen to the buzz of activity around you, or express your observations in both verbal and non-verbal ways. Pay special attention to conversations with others, and be alert to the new information that can be learned there. Connect with your Inner Imp and let yourself be playful, clever, cheerful and fun! Learn a new word every day. Find out the names of things you never even noticed before. Read a book or newspaper or newsletter...or write one! Ride the bus to an area of town you've never been to and see what you find. And remember that it is largely through our interactions with other people and with the immediate world around us that we develop consciousness, perception and mental focus. Therefore, use this as an opportunity to increase your awareness of your immediate surroundings. Exchange information and ideas with others. Use your ability to communicate in every way you can think of. And let yourself be curious, clever and playful!

May.22 – Mercury enters the Shadow (24:22 of Gemini; until Jul.15) (May.23 in ADT, NDT, UK, AU)  ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury is now "in the Shadow" � the area of Zodiac where it will later go retrograde in about 2� weeks time. During its retrograde cycle, Mercury travels through the same span of the Zodiac three times (called the Shadow). The first time through, it is going in direct motion (moving forward), then retrograde (looks like it's going backwards), and then direct again. This means there is a more extensive process of development and change involved with things that Mercury influences�ideas, thoughts, frame of mind and mental focus. It also concerns the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. All forms of communication are also affected. This includes not just talking, but also email and snail mail, the Internet, the media in general, books and magazines, as well as public transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods.

The situations developing over the next couple of weeks (leading up to when Mercury actually goes retrograde) will likely require further research, deeper consideration and adjustments to unexpected discoveries over the next couple of months. Expect changes in your plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information coming to light that may not fit conveniently into your plans. It's wise to leave lots of extra time to do things, to plan future projects and get to wherever you're going. Patience is a valuable quality during this time. If you must make important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes�or if possible, you may want to delay final or irrevocable decisions until well after Mercury goes direct.

May.24 – Jupiter trine Saturn (18:59 of Cancer/Scorpio)  (May.25 in AU)

The expansiveness of Jupiter works cooperatively with the concise structure of Saturn in this transit. Its peak effects can be felt for up to about a week to 10 days before and after the exact date (above). This transit can bring adventure and caution into a healthy balance. You have the confidence and imagination to envision bright possibilities in your life, while also having the grounded realism to make the plans and do the hard work to make it happen.

If you have been making plans to create, build or reach for a goal in your life, this is a time when you may be able to make substantial progress. You have access to vision that can see beyond obstacles, insight to deal with problems, enthusiasm to sustain your efforts, and faith in the process as it unfolds.

It is also easier to be responsible, stable and predictable without limiting your options or potential. There's a slight possibility that this could backfire somewhat, by giving you the strength to push through your vision or opinion with such force that others find it overwhelming. Or, you might feel so reassured and confident with the way your life is unfolding that you take it for granted and don't apply any real effort to help it along ...and then wonder why it didn't bring as much as you thought. Make a point of putting this energy to productive use!

May.27 – Venus opposite North Lunar Node (28:00 of Aries/Libra)   (May.26 in HAST)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

This is a good time to let go of the "things" you don't need anymore. It's a time to release your creativity and transform them into new resources and assets. This could mean cleaning out your closets and selling the discards in a yard sale, for example. You might decide to change your hair style or something else about your appearance. Perhaps you discover that you're making a different impression on people than you intended, and this leads to a revision of your social skills. Or you could get feedback from someone close to you that challenges you to change your self-image. Something (or someone) that has been prominent in your life – in relationships, pleasure, partnerships, finances, possessions, beauty or appearance – is ready to be let go. You might need to say good-bye to someone you've been close to because the relationship isn't working anymore – or you might find you're able to let go of feelings that have been blocked and give yourself to a connection with someone. You might simply assimilate it into the background where it is no longer "front and centre," or you might need to cut ties altogether. Or, you could be ready to express something that has been brewing for a while, like creative self-expression or giving someone feedback. "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" (as your grandmother used to say), but be on the lookout for something that is ready to subside from your priority list.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in GEMINI, available by May 28, 2014.

� 2014 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Photo of Christmas tree by kayseeker; photo of mountainside by clarita; photo of Moon and Venus by terryballard; all from MorgueFile.com.

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