Thursday, May 1, 2008

Willow's May 2008 Astro Perspective

Mmm…now THIS is what I call a month! When I look at the aspects this month, the overall vibe is celebratory. Not celebratory in an over-the-top, party-party kind of way…but in the way that you can relax and enjoy yourself after a long, hard job well done. May rolling around is always a relief in the Northern Hemisphere after trudging through the cold, dark part of the year. And this May feels very nice indeed with a lot of cycles finally, mercifully, coming to an official close - all layers of them! The transformational (and many times, hell-tastic!) Mars - Pluto opposition cycle is finally behind us, hopefully well-integrated and with lessons learned, as Mars enters Leo and we have a second Full Moon in Scorpio at the final degree of the sign (29). We’ve been doing the hard work since September 2007, and now, all we have to do is go, slowly and steadily, to the finish line. If we gave it all we had over the past months, we can now enjoy a more comfortable time, one where we feel more in control of our circumstances. Chiron (the wounded healer) and Mercury (the messenger) are all over this month, putting a focus on communication patterns and the ways we need to streamline there. We’re going to have to take a clinical, practical look at the way we interact with others in our day-to-day lives and make any necessary tune-ups. The series of cardinal squares in April squeezed us, irritated us and basically made life annoying in an effort to provide impetus for action, forcing us to take responsibility for leading ourselves into the lives we desire. Then, the Grand Earth Trines helped our new directions become physical reality. Now, this month, we continue to build on that, while refining, refining, refining to get EXACTLY where we want to be. We’ve got some housekeeping to do this month, for sure, but the overall vibe will be much more relaxed than it has been. We’re focussing on finishing detail work now…not the heavy lifting.

May 1st marks yet another Grand Earth Trine at the beginning degrees of the earth signs. Venus now takes its place at 1 degree Taurus, creating a Grand Trine with Pluto in Capricorn and ultra-potent, stationing Saturn in Virgo. This basically means that our relationships (and how we value and are valued within them) are playing a big part in the process of bringing our “new paradigm” career and public responsibilities into physical reality. This Grand Trine continues the series of Grand Earth Trines from April, and Venus in Taurus will carry the momentum forward in our relationships all month (until it enters Gemini on May 24). Venus in Taurus has to do with being comfortable around the people in our lives, being valued by them, and being around people who increase our sense of self-worth, rather than chip away at it. It has to do with building strong and healthy boundaries within our relationships - knowing what we’re comfortable with and what we aren’t and enforcing our boundaries when necessary. With Venus in Taurus, we’re building secure and solid relationships, creating a foundation that is meant to sustain us for a very long time to come. That’s why we have to be sure of every step we take this month and go as slowly as necessary. Taurus relates to money and physical security, and combined with Saturn in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn, our careers and ways of earning a living are highlighted this month. Are we being valued for what we provide? Are we appreciated for the work we do and the roles we play? And do we appreciate and value other people in our lives in the same ways? Are there any holes in our foundations that need to be fixed? Any boundaries being breached? This is the kind of tune-up stuff we will be doing this month. There is no time to just accept situations where we are under-appreciated, under-valued and treated in a second-rate way. It’s time to trim the fat in our relationships and to keep only what is truly valuable to us.

For the past three months, we’ve gotten a taste of what Pluto in Capricorn will be up to for the next 16 years. We’ll be gutting and transforming our hierarchical structures (especially related to corporate/business and home). We’ll be working hard to balance and equalize masculine and feminine. Anything built on inequality, coercion, abuse of power or just plain unsustainable ethics will be on the transformation block in a major way. No more putting up with crappy situations and dynamics because that’s “just the way it is.” There is no more “just the way it is.” Pluto in Capricorn will see to that.

This month, Venus in Taurus combined with Saturn in Virgo are showing us how this Plutonic process is and will be coming up in our own lives. We need to value and appreciate ourselves and what we do before anyone else will. (And before the institutional structures in our society and lives do.) We need to make sure we are respected and fairly compensated for the work we do and the roles we play, and if we’re not, we need to demand those things! Get a little stubborn and dig in, as Taurus the bull does. Refuse to be put into the same old ruts. No more doing things we’re not being appreciated for doing because we feel we “have to,” we “should,” or that’s “just the way things are.” The only way things function properly within our structures (Saturn in Virgo) is if everyone’s work/role is valued and rightfully compensated. Work that has been quite undervalued and underpaid in our society, especially service industry work or work that supports others in achieving their goals, will come up for review. This includes the low-glory jobs a lot of people don’t want to do - any kind of labour or service industry, janitorial, farming, food production, food service/cooking, healthcare (especially aides, laundry and cooks), daycare/babysitting, administrative, etc. Anywhere people have been living in la la land, just expecting certain things (cheap food, cheap service, cheap labour, etc.)…anything that has been artificially supporting the current hierarchical structures will have to shift. This includes the sometimes invisible work of women and the feminine - the emotional supporting, the listening, the feeding (emotionally or physically), the healing, the cleaning up other people’s messes, the million little things that are done to support smooth functioning in day-to-day life. All this stuff is going to come up from the depths of our structures into the open during Pluto in Capricorn, and we should start to see these themes being highlighted in our own lives.

Saturn in Virgo turns direct on May 2, just after a trine with Venus in Taurus, making these themes potent. Saturn has been going retrograde for the past three months or so, allowing us to come to terms with a lot of issues related to health, diet, personal habits and trimming the fat in all areas of life/self - whatever we need to deal with before moving forward in life. Saturn has forced us to take responsibility for being our best selves and for making the adjustments and refinements we know we need to make in order for our lives (and ourselves) to function long-term in a sustainable, healthy way. Saturn has a maturing effect wherever it sits and creates step-by-step lessons to bring about that maturity. Virgo relates to work/service, self-mastery and holistic health, so we’re being challenged to make the changes we know we need to make in the pursuit of holistic health - body, mind, emotions, spirit. To really get serious about what our role is within the whole, what we bring to the table that is special, where we hold mastery, what gifts we have that we simply must offer publicly in order to fulfill our destinies and our duties. To express our spiritual understanding in practical ways (“The hands that help are better than the lips that pray”) and to bring that into the business world. All this is taking the form of cleaning, organizing, analyzing, clarifying, purifying, streamlining, getting rid of detritus, cutting excess, putting things in order, making changes, making things right. It can mean adopting a new, more adult diet, job or outlook. A new, more adult anything, actually. Doctors and dentists. Holistic practitioners and advice. Clean, clear, simple. The basics. Health on all levels. Taking things away rather than adding to. Replacing bad habits with good ones. Improving the function of systems in all ways. Making proactive changes now to head off disaster later.

Saturn turning direct on the 2nd means we can now “get on with things.” We’ve had a few months to adjust to our responsibilities here…to start the processes and emotionally come to terms with any changes we need to make, aligning inner and outer. We should be somewhat more comfortable with the processes we’re dealing with now. The initial realization and pain is out of the way, and now it’s just the getting on with it. Two more years of Saturn in Virgo getting on with it, to be precise.

I’ve noticed people doing a lot of home renovation projects lately (definite Virgo territory - related to improving what already exists) and dealing with long-standing health issues. A textbook Saturn in Virgo experience is the one my journalism school friend, Bella, is going through (major jaw surgery). Check her story out at: Bella’s taking responsibility for having a pain-free life - doing what she needs to do and dealing with (relatively) short-term pain for long-term gain. Virgo is co-ruled by Chiron (healing) and Mercury (communication), so jaw surgery affecting her speech and the healing process afterward are very much Saturn in Virgo territory.

Which brings up the Chiron - Mercury flavour of this month, in general. Saturn in Virgo is very active this month…as are Mercury and Chiron. Mercury enters Gemini on May 2 (just a few hours before Saturn turns direct) and almost immediately squares Saturn in Virgo. This challenges us to apply that more adult outlook to our social interactions and communication patterns. There is some maturing and streamlining required here. Some bad habits and old patterns need to be tended to. Where are we talking just for the sake of talking, out of nervousness or ego gratification or the pressure of our social identities? What needs to be said, and what is just needless filler? In what instances are we dropping the ball and not saying what needs to be said? And when should we choose not to communicate or interact? How can we communicate more effectively with minimal wasted energy? How many of our daily social interactions are based on social expectation and a feeling of what we “should” say? Mars in Gemini opposite Pluto in Sagittarius has already taught us about being true to ourselves and honest in our interactions with others - not to have a social artifice differing from your real beliefs or understanding. Now we have Saturn in Virgo asking us to use what we’ve learned and get rid of excess chatter in our day-to-day lives.

Not only that, but under the Taurean theme this month of valuing and being valued, we will have to take a good look at any ways that we are not being appreciated fully for the Mercurial roles we play - for what we do say, the information we have and then pass on, the ideas we come up with, and the social function we fulfill. Mercury is the sign of the messenger, tirelessly gathering information, communicating, interacting, offering ideas and keeping things moving on a social level. Busy, busy, busy. In our daily lives, the Mercurial function is typing, talking, texting, answering the phone, passing on messages, coming up with brilliant ideas, filling in the awkward pauses with just the right comment, answering questions, and juggling a million and one balls, keeping them all in the air. Problem is…because Mercury does a million and one SMALL things in everyday life, the cumulative role of Mercury (in both Gemini and Virgo) can be overlooked or downplayed. Both signs help keep things moving and functioning, and often, people only notice if there is a breakdown in the system (Mercury Retrograde, anyone?). If everything is going just fine, it’s easy to forget that that doesn’t just naturally happen. Someone (or more that one someone) is putting in a whole hell of a lot of work to keep it going just fine. Mercury in Gemini, especially, does it’s work on a social level - keeping the conversation going, coming up with ideas, greasing the social wheels with just the right words, keeping everyone connected and in the know on a day-to-day level. The individual interactions may seem small, but the overall cumulative function is crucial. The squares this month indicate that it’s more important than ever to make sure this function is fully valued, recognized and appreciated. And if it’s not, it might be time to get a little more tight-lipped, a little less free and easy with the information, ideas and perspective we provide. To show people that, no, it’s not effortless to do these things - we just make it look that way! It’s actually hard work and requires a lot of skill. Again, we need to appreciate the Mercurial function we and others play before anyone else (or our institutions) will. We can learn from Bella’s situation here by really valuing every word we put out there and every interaction we have…and by making them count!

Umm…this doesn’t actually sound all that celebratory, I know. But it is! It’s always a bit more complicated than just one theme. BUT! Things really are going to feel better and more on an even keel this month. Here’s the good news:

Both Venus and Mercury are in the signs they rule - very comfortable and functional. Venus will be in Taurus until May 24, and Mercury enters Gemini May 2 and will be there all month. This makes for some happy planets and some fairly unimpeded energies.

The Sun in Taurus is ruled by Venus in Taurus until May 20 (again, very comfortable, sensual, enjoying the sunshine and warmer temps kind of feel). Venus is riding alongside the Sun all month, which means we should be consciously feeling the love. Throw a little (or a lot) of Marvin Gaye on the stereo. (“Let’s get it oooooon!”) My feeling is that we will be happy to be in our bodies this month…it should feel better than it has for a while. Taurus is grounded in the physical senses, and there’s nothing it loves more than taking it easy, enjoying some good food, good drink and good company. This month, we should be able to relax into just that.

May 5 we have a New Moon in Taurus (ruled by Venus), and at the same time the North Node and Neptune conjunct in Aquarius. This is another positive, feel-good aspect. With this conjunction, Neptune infuses our current Aquarian path through life with its guiding spirit of love and understanding. The path to the Aquarian future is not so easy. It’s got some rough edges and some very tough spots. But Neptune dissolves all our struggles into complete unconditional love and acceptance. It renews our faith that we ARE getting somewhere. Things ARE changing. We’re closer to creating a world free of needless suffering, hatred, violence (on all levels) and injustice - a world we love living in.

May 9, we have two main events - Jupiter goes retrograde in Capricorn and Mars enters Leo.

Jupiter has been working on expanding our understanding of the Capricorn areas where Pluto is going to be working its transformational magic over the next 16 years. We’re gaining some wisdom here, getting clearer on the truth of the matter, and paving the way for our new roles in the career/public world. Now, Jupiter goes retro, back over that territory, to help us prepare for further expansion there. We can’t go too big, too fast, and this retrograde (ruled by Saturn in Virgo) will make sure we don’t. We have both the expansive force (Jupiter) and the restricting force (Saturn) working together to make sure we don’t get too reckless in our career growth and responsibility-taking. Jupiter in Cap is giving us the “big picture” while ruling Saturn in Virgo will make sure we don’t skip any of the details that Jupiter prefers not to deal with.

And on the same day, Mars enters Leo! That gets an exclamation point because Mars has been going over Cancer lessons off and on for seven months now. That was necessary…in order to infuse the masculine, action energy with feminine, emotional/soul guidance (more balancing and integrating of masculine and feminine). But Mars really could not be happier to head into Leo, a fire sign. This adds to the romantic, enjoyable feel of May in a big way. We’re ready to let our personalities shine (with egos hopefully balanced by the Mars - Pluto work). We’re ready for some fun.

May 11, Mercury in Gemini enters it’s retrograde shadow. That means Mercury will be revisiting all territory covered from May 11 to May 26. Things that come up during this period will be coming back up for review, revision, and internal recalibration during the retrograde itself (May 26 - June 19). Mercury in Gemini is a symbol of the messenger - so messages will be coming from a variety of sources in our daily lives. Things people say will have more meaning than they know. Words will be pieces of the puzzle. Pay attention to the symbolism in your daily lives. Listen to what your mundane experiences are telling you. On the day Mercury goes retrograde at 21 degrees Gemini, it will be in an exact trine to Chiron conjunct the North Node at 21 degrees Aquarius. Neptune is strongly involved at 24 degrees Aquarius, and the Moon moves over those Aquarian degrees throughout the day. These aspects indicate a powerhouse download of information about the way forward. Ideas, conversations and things overheard will give us clues as to what’s up ahead. Information comes at us fast and furious in Gemini, but luckily, we’ll have the retrograde period to go over anything we might have missed. With Chiron and the North Node involved, the way forward involves healing the wounds we’ve received from speaking the future. We’ve been hurt by standing apart from the crowd, interacting in new ways that were/are ahead of the current mainstream society. You know the old saying, don’t shoot the messenger? Well, they did. Often. We’ve had to deal with being ill-perceived, misunderstood and labelled weird, odd, eccentric, bizarre, crazy. A lot of interactions left a bad taste in our mouths because we knew we were not being taken seriously. We were being condescended to. Our ideas were completely discounted by mainstream brains that could not wrap around them. Gemini relates to being socially successful, which includes being accepted in society, in general. Well, with Aquarius involved, that hasn’t often happened. We’ve had to break off into our own alternative societies, all the while knowing that that wasn’t quite right, either. These aspects speak to the hope that people courageously showing the way forward at times when it was not popular to do so will start to be accepted on a societal level and treated more humanely. And hopefully, there will be a place for people with humanitarian vision in the leadership of the current mainstream - rather than people simply striving to maintain the status quo.

These aspects to Mercury have to do with healing our speech and what we hear (healing the throat and ear chakras). I know I, for one, have heard so much that displeases me related to the mainstream that I’m almost always bracing myself for more garbage. I cringe overhearing most people’s conversations (especially working with the public - don’t get me started!) or listening to mainstream media. But this conditions me to be bracing against what I don’t want to hear. It takes a lot of energy and overshadows what I do want to hear. I’m hoping this period will help us all to filter out the garbage and focus on the progress - which is the most important thing, anyway.

Mercury going retrograde coincides with Chiron and Neptune going retrograde, as well, so we’ll be dealing with these themes for a while. Neptune in Aquarius goes retrograde May 26, the same day Mercury does. Chiron goes retrograde in Aquarius just a day earlier - May 25. We’ll be dealing with all the issues related to having and expressing ideas that are ahead of our time and the social repercussions of that during these retrogrades, over the next six or so months.

During the Mercury retrograde, we should be receiving information and messages that give us perspective on the path forward while validating what we’ve been saying all along. Healing us through our interactions with others will be quite a positive shift.

May 19 we have the second Full Moon in Scorpio. The last one was on April 20 at 0 degrees. This one is at 29 degrees Scorpio, representing the last release of emotional residue (especially fear) and karmic dynamics related to the past. Final baggage check, people! Let go of it now! All the old stuff that is dead, dead, dead. No use lugging it around anymore. Feel it, right down to the gut, be honest about your feelings and then process/release. Choose better for yourself. Demand better. Mars and Pluto co-rule Scorpio, so this Full Moon at the last degree of Scorp shows us that we’re clearing out the last of the past-related residue brought up during the Mars - Pluto opposition cycle. We’re dropping the last of our baggage, alchemically burning it out of our systems, so that we’re free to move forward. A lot of things will come to completion - especially any tendencies to accepting abuse on any level. The Taurus - Scorpio polarity has to do, in part, with the emotional oppression we put up with (Scorpio) for fear of losing our security (Taurus). This has a tie-in with the feminine - masculine stuff, too. (Disclaimer: I’m sure this viewpoint is controversial.) Traditional relationships have often had to do with the woman exchanging her healing emotional support (and sometimes sexuality) for the physical security of being “taken care of” with a house, food, financial support, etc. This dynamic also shows up in the workplace, with women providing a lot of invisible support in exchange for the honour (ahem) of having a job to support themselves with. On the other hand, these trade-offs have created a huge amount of pressure and oppression for men, who can feel locked into the responsibilities of the traditional provider role. These are some of the dynamics related to this polarity that could come up at this time. Scorpio has to do with soul-level merging with another person, so on this Full Moon at 29 degrees, we should be more clear on who we can trust our souls with, so to speak - who we can merge with on the deepest emotional level, building trusting, soul-level partnerships. At the same time, Venus in Taurus will help us commit to building solid, valuable relationships with in the physical realm. This polarity helps us to give emotionally while keeping strong and healthy boundaries at the same time.

The Sun enters Gemini May 20, shifting our conscious focus to interacting, chatting, mixing, mingling, having a lot on the go. Venus enters Gemini May 24, putting a focus on our day-to-day interactions in our relationships and how we interact within society. This focus on Gemini reinforces the Mercury Retrograde themes talked about above (the ouchy parts of interacting with others when you’re on different wavelengths). But now we get to try our hands at speaking our truth in a way that is socially palatable (very important - can’t connect and be understood if no one can relate to what you’re talking about).

We will now consciously face how our manner of speech, listening, interacting and processing of information may need adjusting (likely triggered by our relations with others), as both the Sun and Venus square Saturn in Virgo immediately after they enter Gemini. This repeats the Mercury - Saturn square from the beginning of the month. Gemini and Virgo have tension between them, although both have Mercury as a ruler. Gemini is about bringing in as much information from as many different sources and perspectives as possible. Talking, exchanging, commenting, connecting, sharing opinions and tidbits. Virgo is about precision, separating the wheat from the chaff, focussing, analyzing, rejecting what isn’t necessary, streamlining. No wasted words. Gemini takes a more playful stance to communicating and seems to like a whole lot of words, not considering a single one a waste of time. But Virgo knows that too much surface chitter chatter can become toxic, and it’ll be chastising the planets in Gemini to tone it down a bit. As with all squares, the energies need only learn to respect the different strengths and modus operandi of the other and work together. Gemini can work the social scene, gathering info and learning from different perspectives. Then Virgo can pick through, keeping what is necessary and letting the rest slide off its back - as long as Gemini shuts the hell up once in a while. (Maybe possible, maybe not!) Again, Saturn in Virgo will be producing a maturing aspect in everything it touches, so we will be challenged to mature our communication style, to say what is necessary and to keep quiet more often when nothing need be said.

And with that, nothing more need be said...