The Low-Down on the Far-Out

New Moon in Aries, March 24, 2020

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

New Moon in Aries
The Will to Live

This pandemic experience is a massive experiment in collective vulnerability. We can be our worst selves when we're afraid, or our very best, bravest selves. In the context of fear and vulnerability, there is often very little in between because when we are uncertain and afraid our default is self-protection. We don't have to be scary when we're scared. Let's choose awkward, brave, and kind. And let's choose each other.
~ Brene Brown

Mar.24 – NEW MOON in ARIES (04:12 of Aries)

Whew! How the world has changed in such a short time!

This was a tough article to write, but I hope it will be easier, reassuring, grounding and insightful to read. The #1 focus around this entire planet, of course, is the Coronavirus or COVID-19. Many of us hope astrology has the answers during this time of uncertainty and turmoil. We want to know how bad will the pandemic get, how long it will last, and is it really necessary to do all those things they're telling us to do?

The answers are: we don't know, we don't know, and absolutely YES!

The thing with astrology is that although we can see the flow of energy through planetary movements, we can't always know exactly how it's going to manifest. Life just isn't that specifically predictable, and our own response to life conditions can influence the outcome—and our experience—of a situation. No matter what the planets are doing, your participation is always an essential part of what happens around you and to you. Astrology is best used as a roadmap, but how you navigate the territory is largely up to you.

So yes, it absolutely matters what you do during this time. And it's not just your life that will be affected, but many others around you too.

There's a lot to say about what's going on right now. And even though this is one of the longest Low-Down articles I've written, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of what could be said about it, astrologically or otherwise. But I hope it will be useful, helpful, supportive and inspiring, which can help us all get through this crisis in one piece. So, hang in there with me! Or just skim through it, or feel free to read it a little at a time ...whatever works for you. :-)

The Saturn-Pluto Pandemic

We all deserve to get away and have some peace; and others deserve the peace of us getting out of their way!
~ Ajahn Brahm, Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?: Inspiring Stories for Welcoming Life's Difficulties

Welcome to the Saturn-Pluto-Jupiter-Mars-Chiron-Nodes-New-Moon party! As party favours you'll receive a complimentary thimble-size bottle of hand sanitizer, a bar of soap, and a roll of toilet paper. Please have a seat waaaaaay over there away from everyone else. iPads with Skype installed will be provided so everyone can talk to each other. ;-)

What can be said about COVID-19 (coronavirus) that isn't already scrawled all over the news and social media? If you're anywhere on Planet Earth, you've been told to:

Besides this, please be sure to stay up to date with a trusted, authoritative information source, like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the WHO (World Heath Organization). Check the validity and accuracy of information before sharing it on social media, email, etc. The world is being deluged by all kinds of misinformation, semi-accurate information, and in some cases, outright lies. Just as you don't want to spread COVID-19 around, please don't spread around incorrect information.

Saturn conjunct Pluto

There are many astrological factors here, starting with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Although their one and only exact pass was 2 months ago (Jan.12), these Big Boys remain within an 8° orb from Jan.15.2019 until Jan.07.2021. Besides being exact in January of this year, they came as close as 2:37 in May 2019, and will approach each other again just 2:50 apart on Sep.26.2020.

It seems Saturn and Pluto aren't quite finished with us yet. But the one thing you can say about Cardinal sign Capricorn (where they are mostly conjunct) is that things will gradually develop and change; things will not simply stay the same.

Jupiter conjunct Pluto

Jupiter joined them in Capricorn on Dec.02.2019, and the three of them continue inside an 8° orb through most of this year (Mar.08 to Dec.28).

Right now, Jupiter and Pluto are closing fast, just 1:21 apart and closing, coming up to the first of 3 conjunctions on Apr.04. Laws, religion, morality, wisdom and dissemination of knowledge (Jupiter things) are becoming intensified, as we struggle to come to terms with life-and-death issues (Pluto stuff).

Mars: the Spark to the Powder Keg

Why is patience so important?
Because it makes us pay attention.
~ Paulo Coelho

Mars is the planetary ruler of Aries, where the New Moon is, so whatever he's up to will reflect back on the coming 4-week lunar cycle. Right now, Mars is in Capricorn where he is exalted – a strong, determined little workhorse whose energy is harnessed and focused through productivity and purposeful activity.

Mars entered Capricorn on Feb.16, and if you're pouring your energy into something constructive or aiming toward a goal, Cappy Mars is generally happy to oblige. On the other hand, if you've been trying to push Mars to hurry up or to help you escape from current conditions, you may find he's frustratingly slow to respond. As with all things Capricorn, he'll get there in his own time.

Mars is the wild card in this shuffled deck. After entering Capricorn, he first did an elbow-bump with Jupiter (Mar.20) and then a fist-bump with Pluto (Mar.23). At the time of the New Moon, the three of them are still in very close proximity, just over 2° apart.

Mars tends to light a match to whatever pile of tinder it finds, and Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto have been building quite a mound of kindling. So, it's not surprising that we're seeing a rather striking bonfire right now! That said, I don't think many astrologers were quite expected this inferno!

The Shift into Aquarius

Patience is not the ability to wait. Patience is to be calm no matter what happens, constantly take action to turn it to positive growth opportunities, and have faith to believe that it will all work out in the end while you are waiting.
~ Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

At the time of the New Moon, Mars is applying to a conjunction with Saturn, exact on Mar.31. There are a number of reasons why this is an especially significant event.

First of all, this transit (which happens about every 2 years) is usually a tough one at the best of times, bringing frustration and setbacks, yet also the potential for determined productivity and fortified willpower. When Mars gets together with Capricorn's planetary ruler, he must pace himself slowly, steadily and patiently—not exactly his favorite mode, but he does tend to have more staying power that way.

Mars conjunct Saturn in Aquarius

Both the Mars-Saturn conjunction and Mars in Capricorn teach a difficult but crucial lesson, especially one for our times. Sacrifice that disrupts our freedom, comfort and convenience now, is essential in order to avoid something far worse down the line.

In other words, the limitations and interruptions that we endure now will help protect us from getting the virus ourselves, as well as to avoid passing it on to friends, family, loved ones and others around us. And this will greatly ease the impact on the already-overburdened health services. We all need to do our part to "flatten the curve."

There's another layer to the Mars-Saturn conjunction – it's in Aquarius, not Capricorn where Mars had met with Jupiter and Pluto. Saturn advanced into Aquarius on Mar.21. So, whereas Mars has been stirring up circumstances of a Capricorn nature (manifestation, responsibility, societal structure, authority, government), when it moves into Aquarius (Mar.30) and conjoins Saturn, Mars will be activating situations of an Aquarius nature (groups, masses, global community, the greater good, future vision).

Jupiter conjunct Saturn in Aquarius

Yet another facet of the Mars-Saturn conjunction is that the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that takes place on Dec.21 will be on that same degree. So, whatever emerges from the Jupiter-Saturn in December is being probably being ignited now, as Mars and Saturn are within orb of conjunction.

Right now, the world is experiencing the anguish of a pandemic. As our global village shrinks, health professionals and authorities fear this is not likely to be the last one or even the worst one we could face in the future. It stands to reason that world countries and cultures will be looking for ways to adapt to the increased need for protection and prevention. In an increasingly connective world where the actions or inactions of one segment can dramatically affect others, we need to work together for the collective good of all.

To that end, the changing social and societal norms that are emerging now are likely to continue and evolve in some way over the coming years, set into a more permanent motion by the Jupiter and Saturn. Indeed, the current changes reflect an Aquarian aura: detaching from a predominantly Me-based focus and transforming into more of an All-of-Us focus. Examples include handshake alternatives, like elbow-bumps or namaste bows. Or self-isolating when you're sick with anything, instead of toughing it out by going to work or a public event.

Another example: social distancing. Every culture has its own unspoken rules about personal space – the physical distance between people that's considered polite and comfortable. It's possible this distance will widen for most cultures as we become more accustomed to practicing germ awareness and prevention.

Mars: A Hopeful Shift

Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power.
Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.
~ Criss Jami, Killosophy

Declination graph

Mars is also tightly parallel Pluto and Jupiter at the time of the New Moon. The Mars conjunctions with these planets are separating after Mar.20 (Jupiter) and Mar.23 (Pluto), but the lingering parallels extend the effects of their combined energies. In fact, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto are all huddled together in parallel within a 1° orb from Mar.15-31. They are snuggled together in a 1° conjunction from Mar.18-25. And they are squished together, both conjunct and parallel within 1°, from Mar.18-22.

Although tragic news and actions in response to COVID-19 have certainly been escalating around the world throughout March, it seems Mars has moved things forward in a positive way as well. On March 18 (the start of Mar, Jupiter and Pluto being both conjunct and parallel) Wuhan, China (where the outbreak began) reported zero new cases for the first time since the outbreak started in November 2019.

Based on this, I'm hoping that Mars is facilitating a turning point that gradually leads to a ramping down of this crisis. That said, these things never go in a straight line, but tend to go two steps forward and one step back, so we may yet see a second wave which has been known to happen in past pandemics.

For an excellent, advanced and thorough (albeit un-sugar-coated) astrological analysis of the projected future of the COVID-19 outbreak, see J. Lee Lehman's article, Coronavirus Notes. There is also a videotaped interview by Lada Duncheva with Lee about her research.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
~ Albert Einstein

On a more personal level, Mars at the New Moon can be a valuable energy to put to use in dealing with the necessary changes right now, be they directly related to the Coronavirus or other activities in your life. Mars in Capricorn is an excellent placement for channelling yourself into a project or purpose or goal. It works best when given a sense of structure, routine and methodology; for example, devising steps or milestones that can take you from where you are to where you're trying to get to.

Mars in Capricorn also offers helpful advice to get you through a time of staying at home, quarantine, work disruption, social distancing and other major changes in your daily life. It will help to keep a routine in your life. Get up. Shower and get dressed. Don't just sit around in your jammies all day. Have something in mind that you want to do or accomplish each day, even if it's just to make dinner and do the dishes.

It can really help to have a project or goal that you can work on each day. YouTube has a gazillion videos to teach you just about anything you ever wanted to know. Learn a new skill. Explore a new astrological technique. Or read a book. Declutter or tidy up or rearrange a room. Wash your windows. Do some spring or fall cleaning. Make a list of all the old friends you haven't connected with for a while and contact them via email, phone or Skype to say hi and catch up.

You get the idea. Don't let yourself just descend into depression or lethargy or fear. Reach out to friends and family, share what you're going through and ask for their help to keep you focused and present. See if they could call you every few days, or even every day if you're in rough shape. Self-isolation doesn't have to—and shouldn't—mean being completely disconnected from the world.

Limit your time reading the news. I know it's hard to pull away when every story on social media yells out how scary the world is – it's like trying to pull your gaze away from a train wreck. So expose yourself just enough to stay tuned to the important changes, and then go do something else. Discover new ways to have a life. And find opportunities to laugh and lift your spirits. YouTube has a treasure trove of videos about cats, dogs – even a choir of sharks singing the theme to Jaws.

Venus: Social Distancing

Solitude is where I place my chaos to rest and awaken my inner peace.
~ Nikki Rowe

At the New Moon, Venus is strong in her own sign of Taurus, indicating that we can draw on her penchant for pleasure in this time of stress. Bake some cookies or try a new recipe. , especially if you're cooking for one.

The extended Venus-Mars trine is still happening, which I talked about in the last update, remaining in orb from Mar.19 to May.10. In the middle, they form a Mini-Trine aspect pattern with Mercury from April 11-22.

Sun ssq Venus

Unfortunately, Venus is not all wine and roses right now. Venus and the Sun are in a prolonged semi-square aspect (45°), which has been in a 1° orb since Feb.24 and remains until Apr.14. This aspect is in the square family, so it stirs up stress, conflict and struggle but potentially also motivation for change. The semi-square is exact on Mar.04 and Apr.08, with the Venus-Sun maximum elongation in between (again, see the last update).

Venus has unusually long transits right now because she's getting ready to do her retrograde dance from May.13 to Jun.25. Before and after, she's in her warm-up and cool-down phases during the shadow from Apr.09 to Jul.29. And the whole energy cycle begins at the Venus-Sun maximum elongation, Mar.22-26. To top things off, Venus will also be Out of Bounds from Apr.02 to Jun.01. So, she's feeling a bit ungrounded and out of her centre. The fact that she's strongly placed in Taurus right now is a blessing!

Venus is about social interaction and relationships, so when Venus is stressed out or struggling (difficult aspects, retrograde cycle, and so on) we often experience some kind of difficulty connecting with others. Today's urgent need for social distancing, self-isolation, and for some being in quarantine, sounds like a vivid reflection of the persistent Venus-Sun semi-square.

In addition, the Sun-Venus semi-square ushers us into the upcoming Venus retrograde cycle that plays out until mid-August. Unfortunately, for that reason I think this time of disrupted social interaction is not going to go away quickly. Some health authorities are even speculating that it may be necessary to continue these practices for as long as a year or more. So if you're trying to hold your breath until it's all over, it's important to keep breathing so you don't turn blue. ;-)

It's important to realize that "social distancing" (a scary phrase for most of us) doesn't have to mean utter disconnection from the world around you. It literally means keeping a physical distance of at least 10 feet or 2 meters from the next person, so that you won't infect each other if one of you has the virus. That's it. Nothing more.

But here's the thing: different people have different reactions and needs when under stress. (Thanks to my friend Jo-Anne for this insight!) Some people's instinct is to reach out and connect, while others prefer to isolate themselves. For the latter, the need for social distancing might feel like "Oh, that's just normal for me," or "Oh thank goodness, I can just focus on taking care of myself."

For others, though, it sounds scary. This is largely because we're used to equating physical proximity with emotional closeness, and physical distance with rejection or loneliness. So if we need to "keep our distance" it feels wrong at a time when we may especially need to connect with others for reassurance. And when the "connecters" reach out to the "distancers" they may feel hurt if they're pushed away, while the latter may feel overwhelmed when asked to get emotionally close at a time when they need solitude.

The point is: don't take it personally. It helps to recognize that we all have different needs at a time like this, and one person's seemingly-negative reaction probably says more about them and their stress response than about you.

Chiron: A Different Kind of Courage

The body apologizes to the soul for its errors,
and the soul asks forgiveness for squatting in the body without invitation.
~ Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Last but hardly least, we finally get around to talking about the Sun and Moon in the Aries New Moon chart. Since Venus is semi-square the Sun, she is also semi-square the Moon at the New Moon, so this is a time when the Venus tensions and complications are likely to become more noticeable, and will impact us even more on an emotional level. This will colour the 4-week lunar cycle until the next New Moon on Apr.22.

Chiron is tightly conjunct the Sun and Moon, which weaves in the Chiron in Aries issues. (Read my article, Chiron in Aries: The Way of the Wounded Warrior.) Venus is semi-square to Chiron, even closer than she is to the Sun and Moon.

Sun, Moon, Chiron ssq Venus

Chiron is about woundedness and especially our quest to find a workable balance across the duality of our creaturehood versus our sentient or divine nature. It's almost a fate-versus-free-will dilemma. We are tethered to the inevitability of our physical existence, yet we are conscious beings with the capacity to choose and alter the outcomes of what happens to us, at least to some extent.

So, when Chiron appears on the scene, we often experience a struggle with the qualities of life that seem inevitable, chronic or unresolved. In addition, Chiron often brings out issues to do with physical health, so it's hardly surprising to see this alignment just as the world is becoming intensely focused on battling a serious disease.

Since Chiron is in Aries, the woundedness is centered around our courage, our willpower, and our ability to take direct action to affect the outcome of a problem. Yet, right now there is little we can do directly to vanquish the virus or even protect ourselves. The most powerful actions we can take are indirect – stay at home, avoid close contact with others, minimize touching. Action is more about what we shouldn't do, with the washing of hands being one of the few things we can do proactively.

Courage is usually something we envision we hold onto as we move forward into a risky situation, but in this situation courage can be dangerously misplaced if we try to use it to go out and do things that could expose us or others to the virus. So, we need to rethink how to invoke and use our courage. The idea of self-isolation or quarantine could create a fear of loneliness, inactivity, reduced socializing, "cabin fever" or even increased time with whoever you live with that you don't always get along with.

It becomes super important to find things to do to distract, entertain and occupy yourself that don't expose you or others to the virus, and hopefully don't create additional problems (like relapsing into addiction, or overindulging and putting on weight). So again, as mentioned above, stick with your usual routine as much as you can. Start a project you can work on each day. Find a sense of purpose that helps you get through it.

And it may help to think about this whole situation in terms of acknowledging what you're not doing and how that is helping the situation. For example, "I'm staying home so I don't put my Mom and others in the nursing home at risk." Or "I'm going out for a walk but staying at least 10 feet away from other people, so that neither of us will expose the other, if we have the virus and don't know it."

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
~ Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

Another astrological factor is that the Chiron is square the Lunar Nodes, which means the Sun and Moon are too. The Chiron-Nodes square has been within an 8° orb since the beginning of November 2019 (interestingly around when the first known case of COVID-19 occurred). The aspect became exact on Mar.13 and continues within 8° until early May 2020.

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Anything squaring the Nodes can bring a feeling of being stuck in your life direction, like you're being dragged off the path and into the ditch. With the Lunar Nodes squaring the Sun (which Carl Payne Tobey called Moon Wobbles, associated with increased turmoil) as well as the Moon and Chiron, it's not surprising that many of us are feeling like our lives have been run off the rails – they have!

Sun, Moon, Chiron square Lunar Nodes

And yet, there are things found on detours that are valuable, even necessary, to support your journey. During this time, Aries challenges you to discover a new sense of autonomy and solitude within a context of the greater good. Whether you live alone or with someone else; whether you stay at home or are still going out to work; whether you are focused on keeping yourself and loved ones safe or are one of the incredibly brave people fighting on the front lines of this battle – there is a kind of aloneness you are facing. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety, and perhaps that of others. This is an opportunity to strengthen your willpower and sense of who you are as an individual. The freedom you need must be found within, more than outside yourself.

This is not a time of business-as-usual. This is a time to find new ways to adapt and forge new pathways to move forward in whatever way we can. Different countries are having to put varying degrees of restrictions in place in order to slow down the infection rate that continues to skyrocket in many areas. The idea is to "flatten the curve," so that health care systems can deal with this crisis more gradually, spread out over a longer period of time.

If we are to survive this—indeed, to enable as many to survive as possible—we all need to do our part. I believe this is a seed time that leads us into the coming Aquarian Age. Aquarius is about the group, not the individual. It requires a certain amount of detachment from our ego needs so that we can participate in and contribute to the greater needs of the Collective. This time of crisis asks us to develop new skills that can help us be a part of the greater whole in a way that helps rather than hinders the greater good.

So, wash your hands. Don't touch your face without super-clean hands. Keep your distance. Except for urgent needs, stay home. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay awesome. :-)

There was a special kind of gift that came with embracing the chaos, even if I cursed most of the way.
I'm convinced that, when everything is wiped blank, it's life's way of forcing you
to become acquainted with and aware of who you are now, who you can become.
What is the fulfillment of your soul?
~ Jennifer DeLucy

Day to Day Transits for the Next 2 Weeks

Mar.24 – Mercury-Sun Greatest Elongation as Morning Star (Mercury at 06:10 of Pisces)   ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury reaches its greatest elongation from the Sun today, meaning it's as far away from the Sun as it's going to get (from Earth's perspective). Mercury is the Morning Star, meaning it is visible in the Eastern sky just before sunrise, which occurs after Mercury has turned Direct and a few days before it leaves the Retrograde Shadow.

Thoughts, awareness and decision-making tend to be clearer, and your path ahead may be easier to see. It can be a good time to reflect on the information and awareness you've gathered in the last couple of months and finalize plans for how best to act on these. If you were feeling confused or frustrated during the retrograde period, things can make more sense now. Let this be a time of fresh perspective and awareness.

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

Mar.25 – Sun conjunct Chiron (05:21 of Aries)  (Mar.26 in AU)

For a few days, you may become focused on physical, spiritual or psychological healing...or you might become aware of the need for it due to problems. Your physical vitality may be more susceptible to health problems, and your inner or spiritual strength and sense of purpose may feel a bit weak or vulnerable. However, you might also experience new motivation to build up your strength and endurance on all levels. Therefore, this could be a time when you embark on fresh health or fitness goals, or new directions that carve reformed purpose out of previous hardships. Psychologically, you could become aware of the ways that your self-esteem is undermined or sabotaged – either by outside situations or people or you doing it to yourself without realising it, or even ways that you do this to someone else. This is a good time to observe and learn about how these issues operate in your life, what role you play in this dynamic, and how you could make different choices. By increasing your level of acceptance of human imperfection, of both yourself and others, you can strengthen those areas where you now feel vulnerable. Since self-esteem (yours and others') can be a bit fragile now, boosting self-confidence through praise, support, encouragement and confidence can have a powerful and healing effect right now.

CHIRON CAZIMI TIMES (0:17 orb)
PlaceZoneBeginsEnds
AmericasHSTMar.24, 07:9 PMMar.25, 09:44 AM
AKDTMar.24, 10:09 PMMar.25, 12:44 AM
PDTMar.24, 11:09 PMMar.25, 01:44 PM
MDTMar.25, 12:09 AMMar.25, 02:44 PM
CDTMar.25, 01:09 AMMar.25, 03:44 PM
EDTMar.25, 02:09 AMMar.25, 04:44 PM
ADTMar.25, 03:09 AMMar.25, 05:44 PM
NDTMar.25, 03:39 AMMar.25, 06:14 PM
UKGMTMar.25, 06:09 AMMar.25, 08:44 PM
AUAEDTMar.25, 05:09 PMMar.26, 07:44 AM

The peak period of Chiron conjunct the Sun is when they are within 17 minutes of arc (or some say within 1 degree), which lasts roughly 14 hours. This is called being Cazimi, meaning "in the heart of the Sun." When any planet is cazimi, it is said to be unusually strong – being in the eye of the storm, so to speak – and can potentially be used to great advantage (for better or worse). In the case of Chiron, this could amplify either the wounding or healing qualities of Chiron. It could be a time when your health needs some extra attention, or an opportunity to take steps to improve your health, or a time when your physical vitality needs to be your focus. It may also be a time when you need to, or want to, take on the role of a maverick in your life in some way – to find your own individual path or to include an unconventional perspective in whatever you're doing. With Chiron, it's usually a good idea to keep one foot on the conventional path while you're exploring uncommon ideas or approaches with the other foot.

Mar.28 – Venus trine Jupiter (23:54 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (Mar.27 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT, CDT)

Your luck and opportunity to attract money, love, resources and self-esteem are high right now. The flow of attraction (whether that is magnetizing people, things or opportunities) is riding a strong current right now. You could find it easier than usual to get the resources and abundance for whatever you need right now. On the other hand, "your eyes may be bigger than your stomach" (as mother used to say), meaning your desire may magnify your sense of need beyond what is wise. You may be tempted to spend, flirt or bluff your way through situations, preferring to ignore or avoid hardship, boundaries or drudgery. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but be careful you don't get your hopes up so high that you set yourself up for disappointment or make promises you can't keep. It's probably wise to balance this easy flowing energy with some discretion and good judgement.

Mar.29 – UK and Europe move ahead to Daylight Saving Time

If you live in the UK, Europe or in the Middle East, and if your region observes Daylight Saving Time, it's time to move your clocks one hour FORWARD. If you're not sure if this applies to you, check the change dates for your location on DateAndTime.com.

Mar.28 – Venus trine Pluto (24:48 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (Mar.29 in NDT, UK, AU)

Close one-on-one connections with people (close friends, lovers, partners of all kinds) will tend to gravitate to a deeper, more intense level now. Instead of automatically doing the diplomatic, "nice" thing, you may find it is more fulfilling to share more of your authentic feelings. It may be possible now to connect with people on a deeper level, while still ensuring that your interests are equally balanced with theirs. The trick is to do this without trying to control or overpower the other person, and it may be easier to avoid those traps now. You could make some deeply intimate connections with people under this transit. Financial dealings with other people may also go smoothly, although it might be wise to get clear confirmation that you're both on the same page about the fine print.

Mar.29 – Mercury leaves the Shadow (12:53 of Pisces; next shadow begins Jun.02)  (Mar.30 in NDT, UK, AU)  ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury finally leaves the shadow—the part of the zodiac where it was retrograde. This means the confusion, delays and miscommunications of the last 2 months have mostly dissipated and things should be more or less back to normal (whatever that is). The difference is that you now have the benefit of seeing things from a different perspective after having reconsidered, rethought and rehashed information and perceptions over the past 2 months. This gives you more choices than you had before. In fact, you may find that although you thought something was a good idea a month or two ago, you now realize that a different approach, decision or way of understanding it is better. If you've been waiting until Mercury finished with the retrograde cycle before you made a final decision about something or taking action on something, this is the time to take another look at whatever that is. Just don't forget your common sense, and remember that Mercury is only one factor to take into consideration regarding the timing of a decision. Use your best judgment and wisdom.

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

Mar.30 – Mars enters Aquarius (until May.13)  (Mar.31 in AU)

This is a freedom quest! The assertive, forceful energy of Mars can be at its most rebellious, defiant and eccentric while in Aquarius. We may feel especially independent. Or perhaps more accurately, "counter-dependent" – whatever is perceived to be dependent or restrictive may trigger an automatic reaction in the opposite direction. On the other hand, you may be inclined to jump to liberate someone else who is in a dependent position – perhaps an "underdog" or a noble cause. Taking a leadership role to champion an unconventional cause may make you a lot more noticeable...which may or may not be to your advantage (depends whether you want to continue in that role). It can be a good time to invest your energy in activities involving groups, friends, community or Humanity as a whole. Motives, behaviour and energy can be a mixed bag of unstable, spontaneous, unpredictable, liberating, obstinate and/or humanitarian. Have fun with it, but it may be wise to keep a lifeline to something realistic and grounding.

Mar.31-Apr.01 – Moon goes Out of Bounds (03:09 to 19:54 Cancer; OOB for about 1¼ days)   ("What does Out of Bounds mean?"   "What is Declination?")

The Moon goes Out of Bounds (OOB) by Declination, during which time your feelings and emotions may be a bit stronger than usual. You might feel a little separated from the world around you, and as a result you might feel a bit lonely or in need of some reassuring human contact. On the other hand, this detachment might be a welcome change if you're feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed by the energy around you and need some time out. Or, you may find it's time to go your own way a bit more, to seek your own company or search for a more supportive environment. Your creativity and imagination might be more willing to follow unusual ideas, whims and impulses.

A planet goes OOB when its declination is greater than 23:26 (23 degrees and 26 minutes), which is the maximum declination of the Sun, and the Sun defines the Bounds. In 2020, the Moon's maximum declination finally goes beyond the Bounds in March, for the first time since 2011. The Moon's maximum declination increases very gradually each month, and only gets to 24:52 by December (compared to her maximum declination of 28:34, which she'll reach in 2025). So, in 2020 the Moon is only a little OOB and this energy might not be very noticeable until around September. If you have the Moon or other planets OOB in your natal chart, you might be more sensitive to this energy.

Mar.31 – Mars conjunct Saturn (00:39 of Aquarius)

This is one of those good-news/bad-news kinds of transits. The forceful, exuberant energy of Mars meets the cautious, serious energy of Saturn. This combination can create a lot of productivity or a lot of frustration – and often both. The wild horse of Mars energy can become a workhorse when combined with Saturn's discipline, capable of sustained effort that can bring concrete results. But it may also bring impatience from having your efforts blocked or delayed, or having to be accountable for impulsive actions. If having to conform to discipline, limitation and responsibility tend to trigger you into resisting and fighting back, you might feel a lot of anger and frustration under this transit. On the other hand, it could also help you come to terms with a difficult reality or decision, to take the necessary initial steps that can lead to long-term achievement and development. It is a good time to take action that has been carefully considered and planned out, or to start making plans for a long-term project.

Mars conjoins Saturn just 10 days after Saturn enters Aquarius (Mar.21). However Saturn will express itself while in Aquarius, its conjunction to Mars is likely to show us some of this energy. While Mars conjunct Saturn can be annoying and frustrating, in Aquarius this combined energy could be especially so if you try to act with only your own priorities in mind. It is best expressed in a way that benefits the greater good of others around you, especially friends, associates or society at large.

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Apr.02 – Venus goes Out of Bounds (28:37 Taurus to 14:39 Gemini; OOB until Jun.01)  (Apr.01 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT)   ("What does Out of Bounds mean?"   "What is Declination?")

Venus goes Out of Bounds (OOB) by declination, which could affect your relationships, love life, finances, possessions and your sense of harmony, both within yourself and with the world around you. When it works well, you could gain unique or unusual insights and ideas about these areas, although getting these to work in the everyday world is something else again. When it's not working so well, those areas could become a problem due to unrealistic, outlandish or counterproductive attempts to push beyond familiar territory.

For example, you might become more adventurous, unconventional or undisciplined when it comes to friendships, amorous relationships or finances. If you have unspoken, unacknowledged or unconscious yearnings for "something different," this can be the time when those desires break free and make a run for it! This could be a positive thing in that it gives your relationship or your wallet some breathing space and expands your range of experience. On the other hand, those yearnings could lead to upheavals and disruptions, like hastening the end of a relationship, or spending beyond your budget on something that turns out to be more whimsy than workable. This can be especially true if these areas are already struggling or hanging by a thread. It might help to get a reality check from someone you trust, or at least have your eyes wide open as you embark on your flight of fancy.

Venus is OOB when she goes retrograde on May.13. This is likely to amplify both the retrograde and OOB energies. If your relationships are going a bit off-course and needing you to rethink your boundaries or renegotiate agreements, you may find that you need to dig a little deeper to understand the complexities of the situation. It's very possible that communication is at the heart of the issues, where what you say isn't what the other person hears or vice versa. It might help to sit down and have a talk in a place, or in a way, that's very different from the usual. If it's a loved one, try a poem or a song or a letter. If it's a business associate, a memo might help where you can clarify and choose your words more carefully—or discuss the concerns in person where it feels more like human-to-human contact. If you're creative or artistic, this can be a great time to explore new media or new forms of expression. If you're dealing with finances or possessions, try writing down what your priorities are and a plan for how to make them work.

Apr.03 – Venus enters Gemini (until Aug.07)  (Apr.04 in AU)

Relationships, finances, resources and values take on an air of curiosity, communication and cleverness. It is a good time to discuss, think about and create strategies to improve these areas or make them more enjoyable. You may be especially curious, flirtatious or easy-going now – so much so that you might drift into superficiality (which might be a welcome rest from more intense or committed social activity). It can be a good time to exchange ideas and information with others, especially in a social context. Schmoozing and networking with others are prime examples of this. This can also be a good time to negotiate contracts and agreements with people, in this atmosphere of information exchange. Just remember that it's one thing to use charm and humor to influence the direction of the discussion, but it may not be wise to indulge in blatant manipulation of others.

Venus stays in Gemini for an unusually long time -- 4 months! This is because she goes retrograde in Gemini from May.13 to Jun.25. While Venus is in Gemini, it's a good time to examine how you communicate with people close to you – friends, lovers, spouses and partners of all kinds. You may discover that what you say is not quite what they hear, and vice versa. It is a time to find better ways to express yourself in a way that's clear as well as caring.

Apr.03 – Mercury conjunct Neptune (19:22 of Pisces)  (Apr.04 in uk, AU)

The imagination soars under this transit! Possibilities seem richer, insights appear more magical and creativity flows like liquid honey. Your intuition is likely to be more fluid, and you may even have psychic experiences. Dreams may be more vivid and active, including daydreams. You may feel a need for quiet meditation or just being alone with your own thoughts. Your mental focus may seem a bit blurred, although in the outer edges you may catch a glimpse of ideas and possibilities that you don't ordinarily notice. It can be an inspiring time if you are involved in creative activities, like artwork, music, writing and other creative forms of communication and self-expression. This is a time when your "Right Brain" (intuitive, creative, non-rational) may be very active. In fact, it might be a bit difficult to bring a sharp focus to your "Left Brain" (logical, rational, realistic). Your judgment and ability to be objective may be off, and you could be more prone to wishful thinking and flights of fantasy. If you're making an important decision now, it may be wise to do a reality check with a trusted friend before you commit yourself.

Apr.04 – Venus trine Saturn (00:53 of Gemini/Capricorn)  (Apr.05 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.04 – Jupiter conjunct Pluto (24:53 of Capricorn)  (Apr.05 in NDT, UK, AU)

You are being challenged to embrace and accept both the best and the worst in yourself and in life. Jupiter brings a love of freedom, knowledge, potential and justice. Pluto brings a love of power, domination, transformation and the need to accept things beyond your control. When these two planets join forces, you can get everything from learning to use power in an ethical, principled way, to finding a new philosophy of life based on your true inner passion, to having a crisis of faith as you are forced to reconsider what you believe and make adjustments according to how your life has changed in the last 13 years (since the last Jupiter-Pluto conjunction).

This rare transit only happens about every 12-13 years. Were you, or was someone you know, born under this transit? 1906 (Gemini), 1918 (early Cancer), 1931 (late Cancer), 1943 (early Leo), 1955-56 (late Leo), 1968 (Virgo), 1981 (Libra), 1994 (Scorpio), 2007 (Sagittarius), 2020 (Capricorn).

This is the first of 3 passes of this transit: Apr.04, Jun.30 and Nov.12. For 1-2 weeks before and after the exact date, it's good to observe the places in your life, or in the world around you, where fears and worries may become blown out of proportion. It's not that there nothing to be concerned about (especially with all the challenges we're facing in 2020), but it's better to use wisdom to put these concerns into a perspective that helps you become optimistic in a way that is realistic. Look for ways to delve deeper into understanding, rather than giving in to assumptions, biases or blame. Aim to expand your knowledge in a way that allows you to see beyond the surface of what's happening, but be careful not to assume you know everything about it just because it's what you want to see. Remember that this conjunction is in Capricorn, so it is best done in a way that is realistic, grounded, practical and focused on maturity.

Apr.06 – Australia rolls back to Standard Time

If you live in the Australia region of the South Pacific, and if your region observes Daylight Saving Time, it's time to move your clocks one hour BACK. If you're not sure if this applies to you, check the change dates for your location on DateAndTime.com.

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Apr.07 – Mars square Uranus (05:32 of Aquarius/Taurus)  (Apr.08 in AU)

Erratic action and unpredictable impulses can surface under this transit. Active energy is more available now, but it can be very hard to control its direction, speed, intensity or predictability. Under this volatile atmosphere, unconscious or suppressed emotions (like anger, frustration, fear or desire) can jump out when you least expect them. Being accident prone is not uncommon. This can be great if you're trying to release inhibitions, find courage to sprint forward or break out of an old habit. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that your actions won't turn out to be destructive, counter-productive or too much of a good thing. You might be tempted to take greater risks than is wise, but this risk-taking impulse can also break you out of a rut too. It's important to use your best judgment when faced with this kind of potent yet volatile energy.

Apr.07 – Mercury sextile Pluto (d24d54m of Pisces/Capricorn)  (Apr.08 in AU)

Penetrating insights and passionate communication are possible under this transit ...although, so is speaking more forcefully than you intend to about things that require a bit of delicacy or discretion. It is also a time when your mental concentration can come together so easily that you become obsessed. You may prefer in-depth discussion to small-talk, and it might feel awkward if you aren't able to explore the depths in your interaction or communication with others. However, you likely have an increased ability to pick up on undercurrents of what's happening around you. This is also a time when you can start to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions and ways of communicating. You also have an increased ability to take thoughts, ideas and information and transform them into something healing ...or wounding. Choose your words carefully and mindfully. Writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit can help you gather the deeper qualities.

Apr.07 – Mercury sextile Jupiter (25:13 of Pisces/Capricorn)  (Apr.08 in UK, AU)

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.

NEXT UPDATE:
LUNAR ECLIPSE IN SAGITTARIUS
Available by June 5, 2020.

© 2020 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or used without the author's written permission. Astrology diagrams © Wendy Guy unless otherwise noted. OTHER CREDITS: Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Illustration of Zodiac Sign by Natalia Hubbert, via 123rf.com. Sabian image of a triangle with wings by sylvararts, via 123rf.com.


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