The Low-Down on the Far-Out

New Moon in Aries, April 7, 2016

Chart for the New Moon in Aries
Chart for the New Moon in Aries

One can never consent to creep
when one feels an impulse to soar.
~ Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

Apr.07 – NEW MOON in ARIES (18:04 of Aries)

There's lots of celestial excitement during the upcoming lunar cycle�which should make the Aries part of you VERY happy!

First things first: New Moon in Aries. The Sun and Moon come together and a new phase of existence is born. Quintessentially Aries! First sign, first lunar phase, new beginning: make it so!

Aries is all about the impulse. This is the "just do it" urge. Just do it! Do something new. Do something exciting. Do something different or daring. Don't just sit there�do something!

An impulse doesn't stop to think about what the consequences or implications might be, or why it wants what it wants, or the best way to get what it wants, or whether the timing is right, or who might be affected. There is only the urge to answer the call to action.

For better or worse, this is the impetus to move, act and to express one's being! We might later look back and think it was a good or bad thing to do, but in the moment there may be no thought involved at all�it just feels like the thing to do.

Aries channels our most primal instincts. The will to live. The urge to survive. The adventure in doing something new. The courage to conquer. The desire to win.

Whether we act on these through aggression or audacity or just plain adrenaline, it is our Aries impulse that takes us from a state of rest, boredom, lethargy or apathy to a state of being fired up, motivated and ready to rock and roll!

I learned the bad guys are not always bad, the good guys are not always good, and to quote Captain Barbossa, the parameters are like rules, mostly guidelines. And that it takes a little bit of bad boy to fight the evil in the world.
~ Sherrilyn Kenyon, Phantom in the Night

The New Moon in Aries gives you a chance to carpe Arie-em ;-) (seize the Aries day)

The planetary champion of Aries energy is its ruler, Mars. Mars is a Bad Boy of the solar system. He delights in misbehaving, stirring up trouble, going against the grain and using brute force against anything that stands in his way. Not content to meditate on the mountaintop, Mars wants to climb that mountain and maybe even pick a fight with the guru who lives at the top. Mars revels in getting mad and often isn't shy about showing it! Thankfully, once he's blown off steam he usually goes back to being his sweet trouble-making self again.

On the other hand, like all Bad Boys, Mars has a more constructive, endearing side that makes him hard to completely dislike. He gives us the energy and motivation to do whatever needs to be done. He can be playful and flirty, and he loves a good game of anything where he can answer the challenge and compete to win. Trail-blazing is his specialty where he can be the first to do something new, dangerous or exciting.

Mars gives us the courage to break free of inhibition, lethargy and limitation. And yet, if we avoid embracing the positive side of Mars' energy, it may stagnate into depression or fearfulness, or sublimate into physical stress. But then if we over-embrace it, we may become defensive, hyper-vigilant, hostile or over-reactive. Ideally Mars, like any other volatile energy, is best used wisely, sparingly and well-balanced with other stabilizing qualities.

Mars is currently in Sagittarius, so that impulse energy easily takes flight when facing the headwind of moral issues or answering the call to higher purpose and meaning. Mars the Bad Boy may defend bad behaviour as being justified (think: end justifies the means), or he may defiantly dismiss or reject the negative judgments of others that he feels will cramp his style and dampen his autonomy.

On the other hand, Mars in Sag can also be a Righteous Dude (or Dudette) who's a good guy to have on your side. S/he can be your champion and defend whatever needs defending, especially if s/he believes you have suffered an injustice. Once someone has caught the irrepressible Mars-in-Sag inspirational fire, others usually need to get out of the way or get with the program.

Passion is passion. It's the excitement between the tedious spaces, and it doesn't matter where it's directed...It can be coins or sports or politics or horses or music or faith...the saddest people I've ever met in life are the ones who don't care deeply about anything at all.
~ Nicholas Sparks, Dear John

Aries New Moon conjunct Uranus, square Pluto

That gives us the basics of the Aries part of the New Moon chart. Now the fun begins...or perhaps more accurately, the fireworks! Raise your eyes to the heavens � here's what we're looking at.

In one part of the sky you'll see a flash of electric blue that lights up the night. This is Uranus conjunct the Sun and Moon (0�) while Pluto squares them (90�). (Okay ya, if you can see the Sun then it's not nighttime. So sue me. ;-) )


Having the Uranus-Pluto hook into the New Moon should spice up even the most relaxed Aries party. Get ready for excitement, surprises and disruptions. Think: sudden eruption of a volcano that brings the undercurrent up to the surface � maybe not literally but certainly metaphorically.

The emphasis here is on something with a disrupting influence that causes a collision with power structures, control issues and secrets. That disruption could be beneficial, like breaking out of a rut, or it might be destructive, like change that's so extreme it causes unnecessary damage.

Either way, with everything else going on right now, that disruption is likely to have far-reaching implications and may just be a prelude to deeper changes to come. And not just because of the Uranus-Pluto square that still hangs in the background of everything else going on right now.

Monsters exist because they are part of the divine plan,
and in the horrible features of those same monsters
the power of the creator is revealed.
~ Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

See where Uranus has lit up the sky with his electric blue lightning? Well just to the left of there you'll see a pulsing, glowing golden orb. That's Eris. Discovered in 2005, Eris (initially nicknamed Xena) is one of these new fangled planet-like thangs that have been discovered in recent years.

Glyphs used for the dwarf planet Eris
Two different glyphs used for Eris

Eris is aptly named after the Greek Goddess of Discord who, after being left out of a wedding celebration, baited Hera, Aphrodite and Athena to compete for a golden apple inscribed "To the most beautiful one" and left a mere mortal, Paris, the unenviable job of deciding who would win it. His choice (Aphrodite) triggered the Trojan War.

In modern times the planetary Eris played a similar role in another controversy. Her discovery led to the categorization of our solar system being turned completely upside down. In turn this meant she was barred at the door to the Celestial Elite's Inner Sanctum (official planets) and also saw Pluto demoted to "dwarf planet" (a disappointment for which many have never forgiven the IAU). Clearly, she hasn't lost her wicked sense of humour.


Present day: enter Uranus, the planet that delights in throwing a hand grenade into the status quo and then sitting back with a bag of popcorn to watch the drama ensue. He and Eris could make quite a diabolical team. And this year we will get a chance to find out. These two form 3 conjunctions: Jun.09, Sep.25 and Mar.17.2017.

Although still 2 months off, the combined effects of these super-slow movers will be felt a long way off. In truth, this has probably been behind much of the turmoil we've been seeing in the highly controversial US election and general politics in the last year or so.

With Uranus having such a front row seat in the Aries New Moon, with all the other planetary excitement happening, the Uranus-Eris conjunction is likely to ramp up Uranus' contribution to the drama.

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

That spray of bright red-orange over there is Mars turning retrograde on Apr.17 � still 10 days away but we're starting to feel the effects already. It's a big deal for Mars to go retrograde � it's a pretty rare occurrence with about 2 years between retrogrades (compare with the other outer planets that do this once a year). In addition, the New Moon is in Mars' sign of Aries which means Mars retrograde will have big implications for this 4-week New Moon cycle. (Read my article: Mars Retrograde ~ Transforming the Brave Heart)


The Mars station affects human energy and events, which could ramp up or down or just bounce around erratically like an electrocardiogram. Arguments may erupt quickly or unexpectedly�or you might find the fight just isn't in you for anything less important than your own heartbeat. Physical energy could either bubble over the top or fall flat; for example, if you've been pushing yourself too hard you might find you suddenly can't get out of bed and need to catch up on your rest.

Being out of sync with others (disagreements, irritation, impatience) might find you snapping their head off for no good reason�or you might bury your annoyance and then wonder why your body feels like you're dragging around a lead weight.

Mars asks: what do you really want? What's really gnawing at you deep down inside? What lights the fire in your heart and your eyes that has been missing? How do you manage your physical and emotional energy, and is that working for you? Through what lens do you collect and spend your energy and passion? What kind of meaning do you take from conflicts in your life? How do you respond to incidents that require you to stand up for what you believe is right?

What do you put faith in, and what does that faith (or lack of it) protect you from? Toward what distant vision do you want to aim your ambition, and what/who do you need to believe in, in order to succeed in that ambition? Do you second-guess yourself when someone contradicts you with a different point of view? Conversely, do you come across so strong with your own opinions that others retreat in overwhelmed silence?

These are questions to ponder and challenge yourself with, not to judge yourself by. The point of Mars retrograde is to shift your energetic weight for a few weeks and see what happens. Explore how you work with Mars energy�passion, anger, defensiveness, resentment, defiance, autonomy, courage�in order to gain knowledge and understanding. Just don't damage anyone in the process, okay? :-)

We do not need magic to transform our world.
We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.
~ J.K. Rowling

Back to our fireworks display. See that burst of dark red over near the horizon? That's Pluto turning retrograde. Pluto spends almost half the year retrograde (as do the other outer planets beyond the orbit of Mars), so a retrograde station isn't really unusual. Intense, yes. Powerful, yes. Peering into the dark corners of your psyche, perhaps. But not out of the ordinary.


However, this one IS. Both Mars and Pluto station retrograde less than 24 hours from each other (Apr.17-18). That's a lotta Scorpio energy! I say Scorpio rather than Aries because they're both associated with the sign of Scorpio � Mars by traditional rulership and Pluto by modern rulership. And with both of them doing the turn at the same time, it's bound to stir up a lot of deep stuff.

So: don't be surprised if all those symptoms of the Mars retrograde station are even more forceful than they normally would be. There is likely to be an edgy undercurrent to Mars' anger, frustration, passion, forcefulness and drive. And if you respond by internalizing those qualities, the flip side could run deeper than you would expect; for example, depression, lethargy, apathy, fear, resentment, hostility and passive-aggression, as well as some harshly judgmental self-talk.

If this kind of deep emotional brew gets stirred up for you, it may be helpful to find a quiet space where you can just focus into yourself and give yourself some support, love and understanding. It's probably best to avoid directing it outward at whatever unfortunate individual who just pushed your buttons.

Even if it feels like it's time to say some things that need to be said, it may be wise to take some time out to really think about what you want to say. Use that time to acknowledge and really listen to the part of you that needs to say it, before you actually do it, which will help to ground you.

The atmosphere could be a bit volatile for at least a week before and after the double station (Apr.10-25, give or take). Don't be afraid to slow down a bit, be mindful about what you're doing and what kind of energy you're putting out, as well as being mindful of the energy of others and how you're reacting to it.

In extreme cases, this might even evoke violence due to passions, pressure or persistence that become too radioactive to contain. Short of paranoia, it might be wise to be a little cautious in risky environments or around highly volatile people.

On the other hand, this time could be a very powerfully positive energy as well. If you are carving out deeper self-awareness or striving to transform some part of your life that is a long-term process, this could bring you a treasure trove of insight and observations. If you're struggling to embrace your personal power and find the courage to use it, this time could be a turning point for you.

The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure,
to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.
~ Ben Okri

Last, but not even close to least, cast your gaze over to this corner of the sky where you'll see more sizzling fireworks in reddish-orange, green and dark red. This is Mars, Saturn and Pluto locked together in a tight parallel declination.

(Declination gives the chart another dimension. If a zodiac sign measures a planet's travel from "right to left" along the ecliptic, then declinations measure its position "up and down" � above and below the Celestial Equator. When planets are roughly the same distance above or below the Equator, they are parallel. Parallel planets combine their energies often in intense ways, whether or not they also aspect each other by sign.)

Mars, Saturn and Pluto make a formidable team. Let's just say you wouldn't want to get on their wrong side in a dark alley. When they use their powers for evil, they could inflict enormous damage. But when they use their collective powers for good, they can generate lasting, substantial transformation that can revolutionize both personal and societal infrastructures. Often, these are just different sides of the same coin.

Graphic ephemeris of Mars Saturn Pluto parallel
Declination graph: Mars, Saturn and Pluto parallels 2014-2021
Click for larger image.

And the dance between them is just beginning. Check out the graph (generated in Solar Fire). Saturn and Pluto have been edging closer in parallel declination since early 2015 and they cross paths 3 times in 2016 and then again 3 times in 2019. The diagram shows the declination lines of Saturn (green), Pluto (dark red) and Mars (dark orange) from 2015 to 2021. You can also see black lines marking where a planet will go Out Of Bounds (OOB), which Mars does from time to time during that period, as well as when it crosses the Celestial Equator.

Twice this year Mars joins both Saturn and Pluto when the latter are within a couple of weeks of their own exact parallel. This happens in April and again in November. In addition, Mars hovers in exact parallel to Pluto throughout June.

Given these dates, I think it's a good guess that these energies are likely to have a marked effect on the US election, with the candidates of both parties being decided in June and the election happening in November. Since the US election seems to be a primary lightning rod for this energy right now, I'll focus on that, but this is playing out in various ways all over the world right now.

How are these energies likely to affect the election? We're already seeing it! Regardless of the final distribution of political power in November, these planets tell a story of intense power plays over who gets to steer the political machine, what direction to steer it in and how much resistance there is likely to be. In short: don't put away your raincoat just yet � I think we're in for one heck of a storm (but we didn't really need astrology to tell us that, did we?).

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

Saturn is government, structure, the building blocks of civilization that requires adherence to laws and rules in order to function effectively. Saturn is why you stop at a stop sign instead of just driving through � you know that as long as everyone follows the rules, the system will work. What happens when the system stops working? Then you have to either enforce it more strictly or change it.


Change is what an awful lot of people want these days in their government, even if different groups have very different ideas about what that change should look like. At the same time, many levels of government seem determined to hold onto the status quo and want to fortify the same old ways of doing things, which isn't making those in the change camps very happy.

Enter Pluto, the agent of transformation. Transformation is change that you can't undo. Its reach runs so deep that it creates change at a fundamental level. This isn't just about moving around the compartments of Saturn's structure, it's changing the whole design or changing the very material it's made from.

Saturn parallel Pluto is an echo of Pluto in Capricorn, which since 2008 has been causing upheaval of the world's economy, shaking up national structures, and more recently crumbling borders with the stampede of refugees trying to escape the crossfire. Saturn parallel Pluto is bringing this to a head over the next 3 years. Why 3 years? Because we get 3 passes of their parallel this year and again 3 passes in 2019. I suspect the latter 3 passes will see a return to many of the issues that come up this year, with a new approach to try to resolve them.

I think it's no coincidence that the so-called Panama Papers were released just as Mars came and added some fresh dynamite to the mix. The Panama Papers are millions of leaked documents with information about the world's rich and powerful who hide vast amounts of money in secret through a law firm in Panama. This information was released on April 3, 2016 after an investigation of over a year to verify its validity. Although not illegal as such, it is believed that many, perhaps most, of these accounts are used for illegal purposes.

This is a mighty blow to those impenetrable governing structures and supportive walls (Saturn and Pluto) that are now being shaken up in a whole new way. Already at the time of writing, one government leader leader has had to resign as a result.

If you add to the mix the Uranus-Eris conjunction happening this year and the repeating Mars-Saturn-Pluto encounters, it seems we're in for a pretty wild ride in one form or another throughout this year and into the next.

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We don't know what this will look like yet. That in part is what free will is for � we get to co-create our reality with the world around us. If you care about the outcome of the many controversies, struggles and crises happening in the world right now, then you need to take steps toward the change you want to see in the world. Participate. Volunteer. Vote. Donate. Discuss. Interact. Counteract. Get the facts. Write a blog. Dance it out. Move the energy. (You'll notice I didn't say bludgeon someone over the head with it.)

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation � either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force.
I decided to follow the latter course.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

On a personal level, this is a time when you may also experience established areas of your life being shaken up and needing to be reconstructed in a whole new way. Whether that is a difficult experience or cause to pop the cork and pour the Champaign, it is an opportunity to redesign that part of your life in the way you really want. If you have to rebuild or renovate anyway, you might as well do the job right and redo it with the long-term future in mind. Doing it by half measure could just land you back in the same structure that fell apart to begin with.

For now, the New Moon in Aries is a time when you can tune into those impulses that want to lead you in a better direction. Use the upcoming Mars retrograde to really explore how deep your discontent goes and what it would take to make the changes that will bring you more fulfilment and a clearer vision of an inspiring future.

This is the time to dare to envision what real change could look like! The future is out there. Which one do you want?

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
~ John Lennon

Apr.09 – Sun conjunct Uranus (20:27 of Aries)  (Apr.10 in AU)

Spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants" characterize this transit. You are more open than usual to new experiences and open-minded to new perspectives. Your sense of humour and fun are finely tuned and may spring up unexpectedly and irreverently. It is more possible to break free of old habits and getting out of a rut you have been in. In fact, you may find it is fun to try doing something completely out of much so that it's wise to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. Have fun pushing the envelope, but try not to rip or shred that envelope. On the other hand, that might be the only way you can get out of a restrictive situation that's holding you back, and this transit could give you the impulsive courage to do just that. Your creativity may come in bursts and in unexpected ways, so try to take advantage of them when they present themselves or else write down your inspiration for future consideration.

Apr.12 – Mercury sextile Neptune (11:01 of Taurus/Pisces)  (Apr.11 in HAST)

Your mind is very open to imagination, dreams and compassion under this transit, with a little applied effort and focus. This can be a very creative time, when ideas flow like a magical river. It can also be easy to get caught up in yearning and fantasizing about your hidden wishes, although it is possible to channel this into creative expression. (e.g., writing poetry, dancing, wistful music, singing in the shower, whatever!) The possible disadvantage is that you might want so much to reach a state of inspired intuition, magical outlook and effortless communication, that you are willing to be deceived rather than fall short of what you are hoping for. Listening sympathetically to others' problems may come easily now, and you are more likely to get a compassionate response from others about your own problems. However, it may also be difficult to draw clear and firm boundaries with others, since you are more susceptible to the emotional gravity of others. It is ultimately a time for optimism, hope, creativity and intuition, although it's wise to keep at least one foot on the ground.


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Apr.12 – Venus trine Mars (08:46 of Aries/Sagittarius)  (Apr.13 in AU)

It will be a lot easier to balance assertiveness with receptivity under this transit. In fact, it is a great time to take firm action that requires a sensitive touch, and to negotiate agreements in a way that is diplomatic, fair and powerful. Your ability to attract what you desire (money, love, pleasure, flirting, etc.), and to act on those desires, is strong right now, so use it wisely. This may include romantic attraction and sexual interaction, or it might involve artistic creativity. It could also be a time when your actions attract money and possessions, but it could also go the other way – your spending may also increase! Again: use this energy wisely and don't overextend yourself, but do have fun with it!

Mars is essentially stationary, since he's turning retrograde in just 5 days. So as Venus makes the trine to Mars, you may feel an overwhelming urge to take action that then it may become too complicated or blocked to be very effective. Alternatively, the trine might make it easier to back down from a (possibly futile) fight � better to regroup for a while and reconsider what the conflict is really about and what your priorities and principles are. If your goal is to wage peace, this might give you some time to take a solution that's tolerable and turn it into something more lasting that speaks to a higher principle.

Apr.14 – Mercury trine Jupiter (14:11 of Taurus/Virgo)  (Apr.15 in AU)

This transit can make you quite talkative and flooded with ideas, along with those around you. Your stream of consciousness can flow abundantly with optimism and visionary possibilities. 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. Your outlook is usually optimistic and open-minded under this transit, although it might simply neutralize an already pessimistic frame of mind. You are likely to be more open to spiritual or philosophical perspectives, being more able to see yourself as part of something greater than yourself. You might even find that luck comes your way because you are more receptive to opportunities and possibilities.

Apr.14 – Mercury enters the Shadow (14:20 of Taurus; until Jun.07)   (Apr.15 in 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.

Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):

Apr.17 – Mercury trine Pluto (17:29 of Taurus/Jupiter)  (Apr.16 in HAST)

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.17 – Mars Stationary Retrograde (08:54 of Sagittarius; until Jun.29)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read my article about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Mars Retrograde.

He's baaaaaack!! Mars now turns retrograde for the next 10 weeks or so, creating a need to reconsider the direction and use of our energy. For a week or more before and after today, your physical energy may be a bit erratic or wonky�here one minute and gone the next; active one minute and lethargic the next. Forward progress that was made over the last couple of months may seem like it has hit a roadblock or forced into an annoying detour. Tempers can flare easily from frustration and trying to push through the obstacles that don't want to budge. This can also trigger old unresolved anger, which might need to be worked through over the coming retrograde period. This might also be a time when you feel a bit depressed or lethargic due to repressed anger, particularly if you find it difficult to own, express or accept anger as a natural emotion.

Although this might sound like a totally negative experience, it doesn't have to be. All that energy can also fuel a time of great productivity and determination. The retrograde period could also be a time of respite from anger, conflict or high stress, as you pull back for a while to coast, regroup and rethink how you want to deal with a stressful situation. It is a time to take stock of what you are investing your energy and ambition in and consider if you are spending your energy wisely. It is a time to evaluate whether your plans and actions are working for you, or whether you need to make some adjustments in your direction, or whether you need to consider a complete change of direction. It is also a time to work hard in preparation for plans that can be put into action after Mars goes direct. Think of it as taking inventory, revising your goals and adjusting your plans for the next two years (until the next Mars retrograde).

The key dates of this Mars cycle (using North American Eastern Time):


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Apr.18 – Pluto Stationary Retrograde (17:29 of Capricorn; until Sep.26)   (Apr.17 in HAST, AKDT)   ("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.18 – Venus trine Saturn (15:55 of Aries/Sagittarius)  (Apr.19 in AU)

Stability in relationships and finances characterises this transit. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and to invest the hard work to maximise your earnings. Your ability to grasp the solid, realistic facts will help you choose wisely in your investments of both money and interaction with others. Commitment and structure are easier to achieve and embrace than change or taking risks. Self-worth can benefit now because you are less inclined to give in to mood swings. However, if you are prone to depression, you might want to be careful you don't become so grounded and stable that you lose touch with your sense of hope and potential. It is a good time to make concrete progress in matters involving beauty, love, harmony and balance. Keep your pleasures simple and humble for maximum benefit.

Apr.19 – Sun enters Taurus (until May.20)  (Apr.20 in AU)

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.19 – Venus square Pluto (17:29 of Aries/Capricorn)  (Apr.20 in AU)

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're 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.

Next Update:  FULL MOON in SCORPIO - available by April 22, 2016.

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