Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Willow's April 2008 Astro Perspective

April is a month of fresh, new territory and concrete progress…combined with a mad Plutonic flavah, stripping us down to the core (yet more stripping!) as we move forward in our lives. Things will start to move, but we’ll have to do some digging to bring up and let go of any tail-end garbage (especially related to relationships) that threatens our progress. It’s never either/or these days…it’s both/and. We can have our fresh starts, our eased movement, and our spring-ish “lightness of being” after wrestling our way out of the karmic past in March. But we’re going to be constantly challenged this month to get serious about stripping away the detritus as we get to our most crucial desires. Anything wished for out of frivolous ego, any vision we’re seeing through deluded rose-coloured glasses, any desire or goal related to an older version of ourselves, will be dead once and for all in the name of streamlining. We only have the time and energy to go after things that are truly right, heart and soul. Not to mention that the planet only has time and energy left for us to go after those things. Nothing frivolous or unnecessary, Pluto in Capricorn says. Only what feels perfectly right, Mars in Cancer says.

Some very relieving news this month: the Mars - Pluto opposition cycle finally comes to completion as Pluto goes retrograde on the 2nd and Mars enters new ground for the first time since November on the 5th! This has been a rough transit. Irritating, frustrating, exhausting. Some nuclear meltdowns. Over the past six months, this cycle has forced us to align our personal desires, identities and physical energy with broader evolutionary desires…to place what we want personally into a larger context of what is desired for us evolution-wise. We’ve learned to listen to our soul self…to consult ourselves in order to make decisions that feel right on an intuitive, gut level - even when they don’t seem completely rational. This because, for many of us, it’s not a choice anymore to divide ourselves into the self we put forward into society and the work world and our “real” self that we become only when comfortable at home or with friends. Pluto and Scorpio are related to alchemical merging, and we’ve been challenged to merge all the compartmentalized aspects of ourselves and our lives into one integrated force to be reckoned with. We’ve been challenged to come from our core personal truth at all times, to come from a place of complete honesty and integrity, no matter what the consequences, because nothing less will suffice now. We’re meant to be who we really are, and things simply won’t function properly if we’re hiding that and creating false fronts.

Pluto goes retrograde on the 2nd of the month to give us time to internally recalibrate and prepare for what’s ahead during its 16-year transit of Capricorn. (Transforming our business/corporate structures into something that is sustainable on the planet.) We’ve gotten an initial taste in the past couple of months of the themes we’ll be taking on during that process (see the past two Astro Perspectives for Pluto in Capricorn analysis). Aligning our identities (“who we are”) and our emotional, soul-level selves with the visible public roles related to Capricorn is the first step of that process. We should now be getting clear on what we’re willing to take responsibility for. In order to shoulder responsibility, we have to feel right in the role. We have to feel as if we are meant to take that on, to do that work. At this point, we should be closer to knowing what feels right…like home to us. If we’re not quite there, we should at least know what we DON’T want, and this will make it easier to find or build what we do want.

As April begins, we have a lot of emphasis on Aries and Mars (the planet that rules Aries), representing action, breaking new ground and starting new cycles. The Sun is in Aries until April 19. Mercury enters Aries on April 2, and Venus moves into Aries just after midnight (MST) on April 6, less than two hours after a very powerful New Moon at 16 degrees Aries. All this Aries energy is ruled by Mars in Cancer, which is finally heading into new degrees of the zodiac (the same day as the New Moon!) after a heavy, six-month dance with Pluto. There is nothing Mars loves more than movement into new territory. Fresh challenges. New goals. Action. The fact that Mars has been going over old territory while simultaneously feeling quite oppressed by its connections with Pluto means that it will be desiring action and fresh territory even more than usual this month. Because of this, the New Moon in Aries on April 5 will create an especially powerful surge into new beginnings. Mars is ready for something new. We all are. So here we’re supported to initiate, to take action, to move toward what we want. As long as it FEELS absolutely right and takes into consideration our long-term, practical responsibilities, we will be supported to embrace the new in all aspects of life.

As Mercury and then Venus enter Aries this month (on the 2nd and 5th), they almost immediately square retrograding Pluto at 1 degree Capricorn. Just to make sure we haven’t forgotten the lessons of the Mars - Pluto opposition cycle, we can only take those actions that are in alignment with our evolutionary responsibilities. When personal will (Mars) and evolutionary will (Pluto) clash, guess which one usually wins? So we have to honour both, with a willingness to drop the things we’re being asked to drop and align with the momentum that has been created in our lives. As Mars/Aries likes to do, we can’t just jump into anything that suits our fancy. We can’t go too fast (even though we’ll want to, after being held back for so long). The urge to jump in head first will be kept in check first by the squares to Pluto in Capricorn and then by squares to Mars in Cancer. (Mercury squares Mars in Cancer on April 10 and Venus squares Mars on April 23.)

But now that the Mars - Pluto oppositions have streamlined us and what we want out of this life, there should be less danger of heading off in the wrong direction. Listening to our inner compasses should keep us on track.

This month, with the Aries and Mars emphasis, getting to a place in our lives where we can live as we truly are means we have to tap into the power of our own anger (Mars) as a guiding force. We’re going to have to fight for the changes we want in our lives and battle our way out of the past and out of the circumstances and dynamics we want to shed. It’s not going to just happen on its own. We have to courageously trust our impulses, make changes and keep fighting for those changes until we get to where we want to be. This month, Aries and Mars reinforce that anger is not something that needs to be purified out of us. It’s something we need to learn to trust and harness as a force for change in our lives. A lot of times, when we get angry about something, it’s a signal that we need to take action to change things. In our society, anger is often considered undesirable or “un-spiritual.” In reality, we have to honour our own anger and use it to our benefit, to follow its impulse as it leads us to new territory. With Mercury and Venus in Aries for a big part of the month, our relationships and how we interact in our day-to-day lives are going to be the battleground for change. So when how someone is interacting with you is pissing you off…trust it. There’s a reason why it’s pissing you off. There’s something that needs to be different. When you’re being drawn into a dynamic that doesn’t feel right, focus on changing how you’re interacting. Get pissed off and refuse to play ball! People get used to treating us in a certain way, and we can feed that. It becomes a sort of energetic rut where you just switch on the old auto-pilot and fall unconsciously into old roles and dynamics. It’s familiar. But this is not what is being asked of us this month. We’re being asked to make changes and to keep making changes until we find ourselves in a life we love to live. To practise taking a new stance, a new direction…to fight for that new way…and to keep practising until it becomes second nature. To get rid, once and for all, of what doesn’t feel right anymore…and to not invite those dynamics back. We need to get to the point in our lives where we say, “Screw this! I’m not putting up with this anymore!” And we have to mean it. And follow through. That’s where the energy is - not in old patterns. We need strong personal will to break the energetic pull back to older versions of ourselves and our lives, especially when making changes in our relationships. Staying close to our angry emotional reactions will help us see what needs to change. Doing that will help us to differentiate between our new direction in life and the things that are related to an older version of our lives.

Getting our new directions down (and down right) in the first part of the month is crucial because by the last third, we’re in Taurus territory. Taurus is the fixed earth sign of hunkering down and gittin’ ’er done. With Taurus, we commit our energy in a concrete way. Taurus is like a lumbering freight train - very powerful, and once it has been set in motion, it’s not easy to make adjustments to the direction. It’s even more difficult to change direction entirely. Taurus works with momentum in “here and now” physical reality. It digs in, building on the new direction initiated in inspirational cardinal fire, Aries, in an attempt to bring the goal to material manifestation. This is why we have to be sure of the direction we’re heading in, the goals we’re setting for ourselves. Once Taurus commits to a direction, it’s a big waste of energy and momentum to start over, and Taurus doesn’t like wasting its time or energy. It makes more work and less time for enjoying life. So checking in with ourselves and using our emotions for guidance before we leap ahead is important this month to keep ourselves on track.

Making the direction we choose to commit to even more imperative is the fact that we have a Grand Earth Trine forming mid-month, at the first degrees of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. After the Cardinal Grand Cross at last month’s Full Moon (initiating the new on all levels), the Grand Trine in earth signs represents the challenge to bring the new beginnings we so desperately need into physical reality. Time to get real, focus and take on the responsibility for doing what needs to be done.

Mercury passes the Sun at the tail-end of Aries mid-month and enters Taurus April 17. Mercury in Taurus will then trine Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Virgo at the first degree of all three signs, creating the Grand Earth Trine. Trines are flowing aspects among signs of the same element. They’re “on the same page,” “reading each other’s mail,” so to speak. The energies understand each other and work together in a smooth, flowing way, without a lot of disagreements and butting heads. So when all the earth signs are working together at the beginning degrees, big things can happen and a lot of material progress can be made in bringing new beginnings into concrete, physical reality - almost miraculously. Things that would take much more time and effort at other times will seem to come about without much of a hitch. Mostly because they have been “in the works” for a while.

Just as Mercury moves out of perfect alignment in the Grand Earth Trine, the Sun enters Taurus (April 19) and takes its place, continuing the aspect. (The Grand Trine will be very potent from April 17 to April 22.) So at this point, we’ll be very aware, in our current conscious moment, of all the things that are unfolding. Things should be moving now that had been held up. The time will be right for things to manifest in physical reality…and they will, as long as we’re willing to do the sometimes unglamourous work related to the earth houses. There is work to be done, but hopefully, it will now have the flavour of the work we love to do, the work we are ready to do. We should be able to shoulder the weight of our responsibilities now…or be well on the way to that point, moving out of the structures and roles that make us feel oppressed.

While in the midst of our Grand Earth Trines, we have the first of two Full Moons in Scorpio on April 20. This is another indication of the completion of the Mars - Pluto opposition cycle. Mars and Pluto are the planets that rule Scorpio and a Full Moon is a point where things come to a head. So the next two Full Moons (this month, and next month on May 19) are related to a final clearing of emotional residue. The Full Moon this month occurs at 0 degrees Scorpio, and the one in May is at 29 degrees - representing the beginning and the end of the sign. So just like Scorpio, we don’t stop until we’re gutted completely! Anything that threatens our soul growth by keeping us in old energetic patterns will come to the surface during this Full Moon and throughout the next month. Repressed emotional truth (how you REALLY feel), dynamics that people would prefer to hide, abuse, self-worth issues, fear, domination and subjugation themes in relationships, emotional and financial dependence issues, the ways we stay in situations/dynamics because we’re scared to leave, we don’t feel we deserve better, we don’t think we’re strong enough to break out of it on our own, we fear the reaction of the other person…all that fun crap. It’s all part of the alchemical merging and integration we need in order to take the next steps in our evolution. The denied and compartmentalized aspects of ourselves will be asking for recognition and validation so that they can be brought into the whole. The ways we short-change ourselves by accepting mistreatment, especially emotional mistreatment, will be a theme. Again, Mars is a co-ruler of Scorpio, so we have our own anger to guide us. Relationships and circumstances that annoy or enrage us will drive us to make changes. We’ll have to confront the ways that we let fear control us and keep us in unsatisfactory situations. A lot of lines in the sand being drawn.

All this will be stirred up for release so that we don’t haul old emotional baggage into what we are building with the Grand Earth Trines. No more recreating the harshness of the past.

The caution this month (and with Mars in Cancer, in general) is not to deal with things in these ways: avoidance, denial, burying emotions, passive-aggressiveness, taking the weak way out, fearing the reaction of others and letting that fear keep us in unwanted situations/relationships, emotionally manipulating or controlling people.

Likely, things will come up during this Full Moon that will be processed all month long until reaching a final completion point next month at 29 degrees Scorpio. The 29th degree is the final degree of any sign and represents the master lessons - where we have to prove what we’ve learned throughout the entire sign. This is a little freaky because it means some ugly things that have been suppressed can come bubbling to the surface. Things that have been simmering for a while could boil over, and we could experience some “clearing the air” nuclear meltdowns in our relationships. Ways that we feel oppressed or de-valued in our most intimate relationships (with ourselves and with other people) could come to light. Dark undercurrents that people may or may not want to deal with. Severing ties to the past once and for all…and this includes any dynamic that is holding you down, keeping your oppressed and making you feel like hell. Epic, I tell you! It should all come out in the wash now, whether we like it or not. How “epic” these Full Moons are personally will have a lot to do with how much work was done (inner and outer) during the Mars - Pluto opposition cycle. If we did the work we were asked to do, these Full Moons will probably have more of a final clearance type of feel to them, rather than bringing up intense confrontations. There will definitely be some emotional cycles coming to a close. We’ll be sloughing off the past, driven by the will to move on, regenerate, evolve. We’ll be emotionally fortified for what’s to come, as long as we look at what is coming up and deal with it, emotionally uncomfortable as it may be. Physical processing (through the body) of emotion, especially old emotion, should be expected. So it could be a time of low physical energy but a lot going on internally.

The square between Venus in Aries and Mars in Cancer on April 23 will create the tension we need to make the required changes in our relationships. We need to be part of relationships that feel right and honour who we are. This relates to family, friends and mates.

After the somewhat intense Full Moon, we’ll be supported by more nice aspects. We can relax and enjoy the warmer weather that Taurus brings to the Northern hemisphere. Get out into nature and enjoy our physical senses.

Mercury in Taurus sextiles Uranus in Pisces and then trines Jupiter in Capricorn on April 27. This is an indicator that Mercury is doing its job as a go-between for the vision of the Aquarian Age and the expansion of our concrete physical world and structures. The plans for expansion are coming together, with an eye on creating the kind of world we all want to live in. Mercury is bridging the gap between physical and spiritual until we’re aware that there really is no gap.

At the close of the month, Venus heads into Taurus, reforming the Grand Earth Trine with Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Virgo. Now our hearts are fully committed. Our relationships with others take their part in the manifestation process. We’re working with other people who share our vision. Things are feeling comfortable, real, concrete. It’s really happening…we’re on our way to creating something new and better for ourselves and our communities. We have others to share the work and the responsibility with. And as Venus transits Taurus, we build our relationships to the point where they’re a solid foundation for us and for what’s to come. We can count on the people in our lives. Our relationships will stand the test of time. They will endure. And the ones that can’t will be let go of…hopefully with good wishes, after any initial hurt. We should be well aware at this point that what is yet to come is so much better than holding on to times gone by. When we let go of the past, we free up the universe to create something better. We’re on the final leg of past completion and resolution. Letting go internally in a complete way so that things can change.