The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Full Moon in Scorpio, May 7, 2020

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

New Moon in Scorpio
Fight, Flight and Freeze

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

May.07 – FULL MOON in SCORPIO (17:20 of Scorpio)

Scorpio is probably the hardest sign to talk about during the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? Because when we think of Scorpio, the two things that come to mind most readily are sex and death. Sure, we could talk about sex ;-) but the biggest concern in today's world is about death, and how to stay alive and well.

Death is hard to talk about even at the best of times. So, how can we talk about it during a time when it is so much closer to our doorstep? Carefully. Sensitively. With courage. And well-balanced between the best and worst case scenarios.

As with other lunations this year, the Scorpio Full Moon illustrates yet another step in the epic journey we are on, individually and collectively. This passage began with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction that became exact in January, moving within a 5° orb from early November until late March.

Naturally, Pluto was bound to cast a distinctively Scorpionic tone over this transit, being the modern ruler of that sign. Hence, this Full Moon is an opportunity to reflect on how you are experiencing and processing the Scorpio archetype during this very Scorpionic time.

We're all grappling with emotions, experiences and memories around survival and death. We're anxious to get moving into the transformation and rebirth phase of the Scorpio process, but unfortunately we can't just "push the river." This transition happens in its own time, and it doesn't usually progress in a straight line.

This Scorpio Moon also shines a light into the shadowy corners of our human psyche, so you may notice reactions coming up from the unconscious more than usual. It's an opportunity to get to know your psychological shadow. What rouses you to anger or outrage? What dampens your spirit into depression or lethargy? What triggers you into reactions that are unexpectedly intense or disproportionate to the situation? And what helps you move through and out of these feelings?

Scorpio is where we confront the emotionally hard things in life, and how we process those feelings. Dealing with the coronavirus has certainly evoked deep, primal feelings in all of us, triggering us into survival instincts. When we perceive that our lives or well-being are endangered, it can hit us deeper than we realize.

Most of us don't usually think a lot about the prospect of death—for ourselves or others—so this can be a disturbingly unfamiliar experience. (That said, people with strong Scorpio, Pluto or 8th house in their natal chart do seem to contemplate ideas about death more than most.)

In the news and on social media, we are seeing a wide and bewildering range of responses and reactions to the pandemic. From heroic acts of service and self-sacrifice, to the stubborn refusal to take it seriously. From fear that we may be seeing the beginning of the End Times, to the vision that we're on the cusp of an evolutionary leap.

It seems we humans are nothing if not remarkably and mystifyingly diverse in how we perceive and cope with what's happening around us. In trying to make sense of it all, it helps to be aware that we are all reacting, at least in part, from our primitive drive for survival. And when our lives and safety are threatened, we get triggered into certain instinctual responses: fight, flight or freeze.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
~ Nelson Mandela

Fight typically looks like mobilized action and resolute courage. We see this response in those who are on the front lines, bravely providing the rest of us with medical care, groceries, mail, fire and police protection, and so on.

Doctor

Fight also shows up in "grass roots" activities, from making cloth masks to organizing donation campaigns, to inventing new solutions for supply shortages. It is basically the response of those who can't sit still when danger is near, but who need to feel they can control or contribute to a solution to the problem.

On the other hand, fight can also be where we become easily combative, outraged, contemptuous or even violent. Fighting with the world can release stress, although it's best to choose carefully who you pick a fight with. You'll have to live with the consequences afterwards.

Fight might also refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem in the first place. It may feel safer to dismiss or reject the widely accepted view of what's happening, preferring to pick a different viewpoint that seems more manageable. Or a perspective that shows the problem as hopeless or too big to conquer, making it easier to accept. While this may feel empowering, unfortunately it could actually disempower because the problem is not truly being dealt with it.

Another version of fight is simple denial – to pretend it's not happening, period, which also has an element of flight to it. Either way, whether fight or flight, denial can be an effective way to divert or relieve stress for a time, but this can backfire badly when the thing being denied finally catches up to us.

You learned to run from what you feel, and that's why you have nightmares. To deny is to invite madness.
To accept is to control.
~ Megan Chance, The Spiritualist

Flight often takes the form of escapism or other distraction. This can range from something relatively innocent, like spending your days binge-watching Netflix, to something that could create more problems than it solves, like hiding out in drugs, alcohol or other compulsive behaviours.

Although you wouldn't think so, immersing yourself excessively in social media with its shocking stories of political controversy and conspiracy theories can ironically be another type of flight. The point is not whether these stories are true or false, but about the jolt they give you.

Binge-watching TV

If you're allowing yourself to be repeatedly triggered into anger, fear, shock or outrage, then you probably aren't listening very closely to what you're really feeling inside. When fear is served up like a toxic elixir, the adrenaline and drama can be an addictive distraction from what you're actually experiencing inside.

In other words, reacting to a different threat is often easier to deal with than your true feelings about the primary one (COVID-19 in this case). The former is "out there" somewhere, while the latter is a part of you "in here" and much more personal. Therefore, what looks like fight may actually be another expression of flight.

This is why it really helps to take a break from social media and the news cycle for a while—whether that's hours or days—so that you can reconnect with your authentic strength and power, and deal more effectively with what you're actually going through. To do this, you need to get to know your limits – when you notice your stress level starting to rise and take on a life of its own, that's the time to consider taking a break.

I believe that words are strong,
that they can overwhelm what we fear
when fear seems more awful than life is good.
~ Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

Freeze is a lesser-known reaction to danger than "fight or flight." This is the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome where you get stuck, unable to actively respond. Or you become paralyzed by feeling so scared, angry or distraught that you just don't know what to do. It's like stepping on the gas too fast and the car stalls, or you plug in too many electrical devices and blow a fuse.

Depressed woman

This can look like the person who is so emotionally overwhelmed that it's a major accomplishment just to climb out of bed and function. It may include feelings of depression, despair or futility, and when you're feeling that vulnerable, freezing acts as a protective mechanism. Despite its seemingly dysfunctional appearance, it can be a constructive state of mind in that it forces you to take a break and gradually let yourself come back to your centre.

The problem is that if you get frozen in freeze mode, you might not be taking very good care of yourself in other ways, like eating properly, getting enough sleep, exercising, and using good judgment in your decisions. So, it's super important when you're in this state to make sure you do what's necessary to keep yourself not just virus-free but generally healthy as well. If you do become exposed to COVID-19, you'll need your immune system in good shape.

It's especially crucial that you don't let hopelessness, despair, pessimism or cynicism make your decisions for you. If you get stuck, reach out to a friend or family, or a crisis centre if necessary. You don't have to go through this alone.

One of the best ways to move through being frozen is to express what you're feeling. Write in your journal, write a book, write an email, write a bluntly honest letter but don't send it (make that decision when you're feeling more centered and grounded). Or, let your actions be your words – paint, do collage, dance, pound a pillow, bake, hold yourself tight. Or just let your pain and grief weep its way out of you. Then let it go—at least for right now. Let yourself come back to a "normal" moment. Let yourself be in a different space for a while.

Most of us cycle through all three survival responses from week to week, day to day, sometimes hour to hour. That's natural and probably very healthy. Although each of these can potentially become counterproductive in their own way, they also have the ability to support you in a time of stress. At some point, we all need to veg out in our PJs for a day or two. Or, we might need to focus on a different problem for a while and let it become an outlet to vent anger and fear. Or, we may need to feel we have some control over the situation, so we spring into action in some way. It's when you get stuck in one mode compulsively that it can drain you rather than heal you.

To understand the heart and mind of a person,
look not at what he has already achieved,
but at what he aspires to.
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Madman

Neptune forms a Wedge aspect pattern with the Sun-Moon opposition. Mercury in Taurus is conjunct the Sun and opposite the Moon (0° and 180°), and is also precisely—to the minute—sextile Neptune (60deg;).

Wedge aspect pattern

Neptune is the apex planet of the Wedge that provides a release point for the tension of the opposition. Neptune is our portal to reach beyond the mundane toward ideals, perfection, universal consciousness, and bonding with something greater than ourselves. It is a vision of hope and faith that can illuminate our path through the dark times, as well as inspiring creativity and compassion.

The Sun-Moon opposition (a.k.a. the Full Moon) in Taurus and Scorpio invokes a dynamic between our connection to the material world (Taurus) versus our lifeline to our deeply emotional and intuitive nature (Scorpio). It's the concentration of sensory pleasure, versus intense passion and emotional intimacy. It's stability that can lead to security and reassurance, versus the need to control our environment to maintain emotional stability.

Mercury in Taurus, conjunct the Sun, seeks reliable information, a durable frame of mind, and straightforward knowledge. So, while the Scorpio Moon is helping itself to the emotional buffet of fight, flight and freeze, the Taurus Sun and Mercury are busy constructing a dependable, protective container built from reality checks and creature comforts.

The tension in the Scorpio-Taurus opposition comes from one of Scorpio's favorite protective mechanisms – suspicion. Scorpio often has x-ray vision to see below the surface of events, and knows that there's usually more to a situation than meets the eye. So, in a situation like COVID-19 that's fraught with uncertainty, confusion, fear, and constantly changing information, Scorpio's natural inclination is to assume there must be something else going on that is hidden, secret, obscure and possibly sinister.

At its best, this leads to penetrating Scorpionic insight. But even Taurus-Sun/Mercury, Scorpio-rising Sigmund Freud is reputed to have observed that "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." In other words, just because you think there might be something more to it, doesn't mean you know what it is, if indeed there is anything.

The point is: it's best not to let suspicion, paranoia, doubt and cynicism become a steady diet. The best mental, emotional and spiritual health are sustained by a balance of conflict and ease, skepticism and acceptance.

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.
~ Pablo Neruda

So, in the midst of all this controversy, conflict and craziness, along comes Neptune, the magician of imagination and inspiration. He recites beautiful, soothing poetry to both the suspicious Scorpio Moon and the sensible Taurus Sun and Mercury, conducted through the easy-flowing trine and sextile aspects (120° and 60°) of the Wedge.

As discussed in the Taurus New Moon update, this is again the Universe urging us to look for the light-hearted positives, the silver linings and the special, touching moments, and embrace them.

On a good day, Neptune offers hopeful reassurance that an optimistic viewpoint has the power to guide us toward the double rainbow that shimmers beyond the storms of today. But on a difficult day, the seductive ease of the trine and sextile can also invite Neptune to spawn illusions that make possibilities look like concrete fact.

The trick with Neptune is that it is best to taste it with a grain of salt – in other words, an honest reality check. Optimism and hope are absolutely essential to get you through tough times, and this Wedge to Neptune can be a wonderful gift to us now. However, while you're keeping your spirits up by drinking in Neptune's sweet nectar, it's probably best to let grounded Saturn be your "designated driver" when it comes to making decisions.

Therefore, it's probably not entirely a bad thing that Saturn is stationary (it turns retrograde in just 4 days), which makes Saturn's energy very strong and prominent in the Full Moon chart. That said, Saturn is still Saturn, the task master of carrying heavy burdens who insists that the hard struggles we endure will make us stronger. And he's not wrong, but he doesn't have the whole picture either, which includes room for hope and peace.

So ideally, Saturn and Neptune can balance each other out, although there may also be times when you swing between extremes of vivid elation (Neptune) and stark reality (Saturn). Mars sits right on the midpoint between Saturn and Neptune, so the way to bring them into balance may be through taking action.

Since Mars is in Aquarius, this can be very effective when that action helps you break free of where you're stuck, especially emotionally. Prowl the Internet to find things that can take you out of your detrimental frame of mind. Or reach out and connect with friends through Skype, Facetime, etc. Get involved with a project that contributes to healing, solutions or support for conquering the pandemic.

The idea is to find ways to utilize both Saturn and Neptune together, instead of just letting them fight with each other. In other words: action that is both practical and inspired, useful and imaginative, physical and spiritual, mobilizing and meditative.

It takes love to hold on when you want to let go.
It takes love to let go when you want to hold on.
~ Kate McGahan

I've talked in previous updates about Venus being so prominent in the skies this year—visually and astrologically. She has been Out of Bounds by declination (OOB) since Apr.02, and at the time of the Full Moon she is essentially stationary, being less than a week away from going retrograde for about 6 weeks, starting May.13.

Being OOB and retrograde are disconcerting yet innovative conditions for Venus. Her astrological activity has certainly reflected the social disruption and awkwardness we have endured so far this year in the name of keeping ourselves and others around us safe. Unfortunately, these precautions will remain necessary to some degree as the year goes on. In fact, it is generating a need to permanently alter how we conduct ourselves in relation to health concerns, both publicly and privately. So, as Venus moves through her OOB and retrograde phases, she will continue to challenge us to find new, alternative, creative ways to stay connected to friends, family and the collective around us.

In addition, the stock market has been doing double backflips, while the economy has struggled to recoup stability and strength in ways that adapt to the times. Employment and income have become precarious for many of us, and unconventional solutions—personal and governmental—must be applied to ensure that basic needs are met. Businesses and manufacturers have also had to find inventive ways to stay afloat during this storm, many by changing the products they made or sell, as well as turning more to online commerce. It's all about innovation and adaptation, for better or worse.

Venus in Gemini has no doubt had a mischievous hand in all of these situations. As she progresses through her Out of Bounds and retrograde phases, she continues to weave her disruptive magic in the weeks and months to come.

Venus trine Mars

Venus is just coming out of her loooooong trine with Mars (Mar.22 to May.10). Although it might not have felt like it, this aspect has helped us through this time of lockdown, social distancing and upheaval, by providing a dynamic flow of creative energy. By the time she comes In-Bounds again on Jun.01, Venus will be in a conflicting square to Mars (90°), which could make it a bit harder to soothe our stress with creativity and pleasure. For example, instead of it being about finding fun in the face of crisis, it might be focused more on creativity out of necessity.

Venus SRx square Neptune

Between then and now, as Venus turns retrograde, most places on Planet Earth are hoping to start loosening the strict limitations we've had to abide by to slow down the spread of the virus and keep as many of us virus-free as possible. However, when Venus turns retrograde, she is square to Neptune and this transit stays within a 6° orb from Apr.21 to Jun.01, and then she has her square to Mars to contend with. Because of this, I feel concerned that this re-opening of societal activity might not be as smooth or uneventful as we hope. Treading carefully, gradually, mindfully and thoughtfully is likely the best way through.

In a time of destruction, create something.
~ Maxine Hong Kingston

Regardless of what is happening within the social collective, we may find that Venus retrograde is a time when we feel the need to turn inward to some extent. After experiencing such a different and limited connection with others over the last few months, this Venus retrograde is likely to stir up many feelings and thoughts that need to be processed.

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This is just as true if you have been spending more time with your family, spouse/partner or roommates – even in the most positive situation, all those elbows rubbing against each other may be feeling somewhat chaffed from spending so much time huddled together. And if you are in a situation where you're experiencing or at risk for abuse, it's extra important that you reach out, ideally to change to a safer situation, but if that's not possible to at least get some emotional and mental support. 911 is also a resource if you are in danger.

Venus Rx may be a time when we feel driven to delve into what we really want from our relationships, whether our feelings have changed toward those we've been close to, and to explore how we're managing our relationship with ourselves. In addition, it can also be a time when we suddenly hear from people we haven't talked to for a while, or we could be seized by the urge to text our exes. (Use your best, sober judgment on that one...)

One twinkle in the silver lining in this is to watch Venus in the sky in May. Be sure to watch for Venus high and brilliant in the northwest sky after sunset. They don't say "like a diamond in the sky" for nothing! Over the next two weeks, she'll set earlier after the Sun, so catch her while you can.

In the days just before the next New Moon, Mercury dances with her in the northwest sky, both of them Out of Bounds and conjunct in Gemini. From May.16 to Jun.01, both Mercury and Venus are OOB, which can be a delightfully creative time of inspired ideas—although it's also wise to be careful not to be overly glib or sarcastic with others. From Apr.27 to May11, Venus and Mars are also in Mutual Reception (in a sign ruled by the other), which can emphasize the cooperative potential between them.

In addition, from May 24-26, the Moon will also be OOB, so emotional sensitivity in relationships, interactions, and the social situation in general, might be more dramatic or expressive than usual.

These dynamics are pulled into focus around the Scorpio Full Moon which plays out over the next 2 weeks until the New Moon in Gemini (May.22). The intensity, depth and passion that is stirred up by the Scorpio Moon has a lot of opportunity to find creative outlets. This could be the artistry kind of creativity, but it can also be about transforming our experience of the world's shared crisis into new awareness and understanding that can facilitate healing at a deep level.

As always, stay safe, stay healthy, stay home whenever possible, and stay sane. See you again in a couple of weeks. :-)

Taking a risk to survive isn’t that impressive.
Taking a risk to be happy, that takes guts.
~ Sarah Noffke, Revived

Day to Day Transits for the Next 2 Weeks

May.07 – Mercury sextile Neptune (20:22 of Taurus/Pisces)

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.

May.09 – Mercury trine Pluto (24:56 of Taurus/Capricorn)

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.

May.10-12 – Moon goes Out of Bounds (29:39 Sagittarius to 23:46 Capricorn)  (May.09 in HAST)   ("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, and will continue to go OOB until January 2030.

For now, the Moon's maximum declination increases very gradually each month, and only gets to 24:52 by December 2020 (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. On the other hand, the OOB periods can be a time when your emotional reactions may be somewhat more amplified than usual. In any case, if you have the Moon or other planets OOB in your natal chart, you might be more sensitive to this energy.

May.10 – Mercury trine Jupiter (27:12 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (May.11 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.

May.10 – Sun sextile Neptune (20:27 of Taurus/Pisces)  (May.11 in AU)

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

May.11 – Saturn Stationary Retrograde (01:57 of Aquarius; Rx until Sep.29)  (May.10 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT, CDT)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date, your physical and emotional energy may feel a bit heavy, stuck, serious or sad. You might feel held back by circumstances or pressured by people or situations involving structure, rules, authority figures, expectations and responsibilities. For about the next four months, your ambitions and goals can benefit from planning and development at a deeper level. It is a time to rework and refine your goals to figure out how you are going to achieve them. You may also need to examine your motives for wanting to achieve these goals, as well as how feasible they are. You may therefore look at how your goals, or your method of achieving them, ought to be changed. This can also be a time of improving how you deal with authority, expectations, obligations or discipline. Toward that end, today's station could trigger these issues through events, conflicts, challenges or additional "homework." If you've been having problems or are uncomfortable with these areas, especially during the last 3 months, this retrograde period can allow you to gradually build a new way of dealing with them or problem-solving the difficulties. After Saturn turns Direct in 4 months, you will be in a better position to apply what you've learned and developed more fully.

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May.11 – Mercury square Mars (28:43 of Taurus/Aquarius)  (May.10 in HAST, AKDT)

Fiery speech, argument and hot debate characterise this transit. This could come in the form of conflict, or it might be stimulating and challenging – or both! One thing to watch out for is that you may have a short fuse for a temper, and the same may be true for others around you. It can be a time when you blurt out things you later regret, or you might finally find the courage to do something that's long overdue. The problem is that one can easily look like the other, and what feels like courage in the moment might look more like reckless haste in retrospect. Harsh words can't always be taken back, so keep a grip on your objectivity and better judgment while you're verbally fighting the dragons. Use this energy to stoke your motivational fires, and use your ideas to generate positive action. It can help to pace your mental energy like racing a horse, which can harness abundant energy to fuel your decisions, courage and resolve.

May.11 – Mercury enters Gemini (until May.28)

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.12 – Mars trine North Lunar Node (29:41 of Aquarius/Gemini)  (May.13 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Today, and up to a few days before and after, you may find that all the lights seem to be green for you to move ahead and take action. This might be a spontaneous impulse to seize the moment, or it could be about taking the next step in a project or process that you've been planning and carefully considering. It could also be a time when your emotions are more easily expressed. There may be someone who is urging, inspiring or rousing you to take this action. It's up to you to decide if this is wise and in your best interest, and if so, the best way to make this happen.

May.12 – Mercury trine Saturn (01:57 of Gemini/Aquarius)  (May.13 in AU)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and pursuit of your goals now. Your mental outlook is likely to be calm and grounded. This is a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your goals. You may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the process of pursuing those past goals. Or, you might find you are able to draw on past achievements to assist and support your current goals and plans. It is a good transit to bring structure to your thoughts and communication. You may find it's a little easier to accept authority – yours or someone else's – and that you are able to speak authoritatively about things about which you have knowledge or experience.

May.13 – Mars enters Pisces (until Jun.27)  (May.12 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT, CDT)

Mars in Pisces can feel like you're boxing with a cloud. Your motives and actions may seem to be led in some direction, rather than you consciously choosing what to do. Expressing anger or taking an assertive stand may easily lose its impact. Emotions and motives that are normally focused can become blurred in a fog of indecision and ambiguity. However, you may also be able to connect more easily to spiritual, intuitive, artistic and creative energy. Listen to your body and observe your spontaneous actions – what would they mean if you were having a dream? These things can give you clues about unconscious motives, feelings and perceptions (about yourself or others). In a way, you are more connected to the twilight spaces between worlds, which can make it hard to feel powerful or effective in the "real" world. It can therefore be tempting to slip into a kind of "victim mentality." Or, you might feel despondent, apathetic or kind of "spacey." It can help to do things that feed your spirit without needing to pump yourself up artificially.

May.13 – Venus Stationary Retrograde (21:50 of Gemini; Rx until Jun.25)  (May.12 in HAST, AKDT, PDT)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Venus Retrograde.  Read even more about Venus Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week or more before and after this date, you may experience intense energy in the areas of relationships, finances, beauty, self-worth and harmony. Similar to Mercury retrograde, Venus retrograde is a time when we go back over the same ground we just came through in order to refine, polish and adjust the affected areas in our lives.

Venus retrograde can be a time when latent problems in relationships (all kinds, not just romantic) become outright conflicts. Or, previous ongoing conflicts may take a rest and go underground for a while, as everyone regroups and reassesses what is important to them. If you have been keeping the peace at any price, this could be a time when that peace suddenly falls apart and you are faced with having to deal with old unresolved problems.

Finances also can shift direction. Income and resources might become somewhat scarce, forcing you to let go of or rethink your material focus. Or, you might find your material resources booming ...possibly along with your spending. Issues about personal appearance, fashion, beauty and charm may also become conspicuous by their absence or by their sudden importance. In general, it is a time to examine your value system and decide whether the people and things that you have cherished still hold the same high priority for you, as well as whether you are truly living according to your values.

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

Venus is retrograde in Gemini, so social contacts and relationships with those close to you may become unusually quiet or unusually active. What you say, how you say it, and even what you don't say, can be especially significant. A lot may be said "between the lines" or indirectly through body language, tone of voice and timing, as well as choice of words. There's a lot of duality in this combination (Gemini is a dual sign and Venus rules Libra, another dual sign), so be alert for times when you say what you want to be true or what you think the person wants to hear, rather than a more difficult or obscure truth. This retrograde phase could also be a good time to have that long talk with a loved one, or to at least search for the right words to say whatever needs to be said. It might work best if it's kept relatively light or at least diplomatic and caring.

Venus is retrograde in Gemini (in whole or in part) every 8 years, from 1932 to 2100. Some of these years include: 1932, 1940, 1948, 1956, 1964, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2004, 2012, 2020, 2028, 2036.

Venus is Out of Bounds as she turns retrograde. This could ramp up the usual stationary Venus effects, allowing them to stray into unusual or off-balance perceptions, emotions or experiences. With Venus in Gemini, you might feel inspired to express yourself in a creative way, or to invoke the part of you that loves beauty and harmony. So, you might feel drawn to art or music or reading/writing, either doing these your self or being receptive to the work of others. On the other hand, you might also find that the usual things that bring you comfort, pleasure and peace don't quite do the trick right now, and you hunger for something different, something unusual or something experimental.

Venus is square Neptune as she stations retrograde, so it's wise to be careful about immersing yourself in something that could turn out to be something other than you're hoping for. If you're thinking of investing a significant amount of time, energy, money or good faith, you might want to consider delaying for a few months, giving you time to check it out more thoroughly or to see if that's really what you want or if you just like the idea of something different. The Neptune factor will be with us for a while, since Venus stations direct just 2 days after Neptune stations retrograde, so their energies will again be swimming together for a while. It's awesome energy for something of beauty, creativity and expressing love, but might not mix well when you need something reliable, realistic and specific.

May.14 – Jupiter Stationary Retrograde (27:14 of Capricorn; Rx until Sep.12)  (May.15 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date (while Jupiter is moving very slowly and stopped during the station), you may experience an increase in idealism, longing or inspiration. Your opinions, beliefs and assumptions may come under question, as your understanding of life and the world around you now requires further study. While Jupiter is retrograde over the next five months, you may have to re-examine your assumptions, attitudes, biases and judgments about one or more situations. It can be a time to gather more knowledge and look at things from a different perspective, which can change your interpretation of events.

Right now at the station there is the turning point, which might inspire you to explore already-known territory in a new way, or it could disrupt your journey because your map of the territory isn't accurate or up-to-date. This especially applies to situations that have been developing in the last three months (since Jupiter entered the shadow). Allow yourself to be open to new possibilities emerging gradually out of old situations. There is a deeper understanding that can result from exploring things from a different perspective and questioning what you think you know. That which is known and familiar may seem strangely irrelevant or foreign for a while, yet will eventually become integrated and understood again after Jupiter goes direct in five months.

May.15 – Sun trine Pluto (24:54 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (May.14 in HAST, AKDT, PDT)

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.15 – Mercury sextile Chiron (08:06 of Gemini/Aries)  (May.16 in AU)

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.16 – Mercury goes Out of Bounds (08:47 Gemini to 12:21 Cancer; OOB until Jun.10)  (May.15 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT, CDT)   ("What does Out of Bounds mean?"   "What is Declination?")

Mercury goes Out of Bounds (OOB) by declination, giving us a chance to peek into ideas and observations beyond our usual thoughts, awareness and comfort zone. The "air up there" can be a bit rarefied. If you're not used to it (and even if you are), your thoughts might seem almost a bit drunk, confused, unusually inspired, or flowing so freely that it's hard to capture them clearly. If you do catch one of these thoughts clearly, remember that it's an idea, not necessarily reality, even though you could use it to create a new reality for yourself. Your mental peripheral vision can become expanded, taking in more information than usual. You may have a chance to manifest it more clearly when Mercury returns from "outer space."

Another effect that is common while Mercury is OOB is that it can feel like Mercury is retrograde, even when it's not. Weird things often happen, including confusion and things seeming to be generally out-of-synch. As with the actual Mercury retrograde, it's best to give yourself a bit more time to get to appointments, drive more carefully, double-check information and give everyone around you a bit more patience, since they're going through this too.

Like all things in astrology and life, Mercury OOB has its upside and its downside. Much depends on which thoughts you feed and what you feed them with. If you consume fear, suspicion, anger or hostility, you could find yourself feeling a bit paranoid, easily angered, or looking for ways to cheat in order to avoid anticipated negativity. On the upside, you may discover a fresh understanding about things, putting new pieces of the puzzle into place and tapping into a higher level of truth and insight. Try writing down your ideas, perceptions, thoughts and moods. After Mercury comes back down to earth, you can see how you can put those observations and ideas to good use.

What makes this Mercury OOB a bit different is that both Mercury and Venus are OOB from May.16 to Jun.01. During this time, you may be more sensitive or receptive to unconventional values, bizarre expressions of beauty, unusual ways of connecting socially with people, and communicating with people close to you (loves, partners, close friends). That means these could be out of the ordinary in a rewarding or stressful way. Keep this in mind if you start to feel like you're losing your cool. Instead, reorient your vision of what is happening – what are the highest values that you hold dear which you could bring to the situation? How could you respond with a more universal level of love?

May.17 – Sun trine Jupiter (27:13 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (May.18 in AU)

This is a time when your understanding of the Big Picture and your place within it can 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, finding new meaning in your live and the events that unfold around you. Self-confidence can run high now, and you could feel inspired to fight for justice or some cause. At the same time, there is a chance that all this self-assurance and "knowing" could go overboard into over-confidence, dogmatism or over-indulgence if it's not grounded in realism and humility. Just use your best judgment and enjoy this warm, shining energy!

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May.20 – Sun enters Gemini (until Jun.20)

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.20 – Venus Retrograde square Neptune (20:39 of Gemini/Pisces)  (May.21 in UK, AU)

Money, material resources, relationships and pleasure could be subject to confusion, deception, or unrealistic wishful thinking under this transit. It may seem that what you thought you had (love, friendship, pleasure, money, resources) has suddenly disappeared or isn't as dependable as you thought it was. You might feel disappointed, disillusioned, sad or alone, but this is more likely to be a passing phase than a serious crisis. The question is: what are your secret longings and subtle desires that may be operating unconsciously? These could be clouding your ability to relate to people and situations in your life. Old addictions, depression or idealism may surface as way of dealing with feelings. A better outlet would be to channel your feelings and experiences into creativity, beauty, inspiration and compassion; for example, art, music or helping others.

This is the second of 3 passes of this transit: May.02, May.20 and Jul.27. The issues, inspiration and challenges that come up at this time may have roots in the time of the first pass of this transit. This is a time to gather resources and dig a little deeper to understand what underlies the events and experiences happening now.

NEXT UPDATE:
NEW MOON IN LEO
Available by August 18, 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 autumn forest by Johannes Plenio, via Unsplash.com. Photo of nurse in COVID-19 protective equipment by Patrik Slezak, via 123rf.com. Photo of binge-watching Netflix by Mollie Sivaram, and photo of depressed woman by Dmitry Schemelev, both via Unsplash.com


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