There are a few major themes of this month. The first is the conjunction of Jupiter and the North Moon Node in Taurus. Both Jupiter and the North Moon Node have similar themes of expansiveness and growth. In a way this makes their conjunction very helpful for giving us a boost of energy – almost like a rocket that will expedite our progress in a particular direction. If you feel like you are on the path you want to be on, but progress has felt sluggish and difficult, you may find this is the energy you need to rocket forward.
However, with rockets, there is no guarantee that they are pointed in a good direction; the only guarantee is that they will move explosively along whatever their path happens to be. Therefore, it is extremely important to make sure they are pointed in the right direction; otherwise, we may find that the rocket just adds a lot of energy along a false start path that we need to backtrack from. To really use this expansive energy helpfully this month, be very conscious and deliberate about the path you want to move forward on. Once the forward momentum starts, it will be difficult to change direction.
This means that early June is a perfect time to spend time contemplating what is most important to you. What do you want to be investing time and energy in? Is the path you are on a fulfilling one, or are there shifts you want to make? Meditating and setting intentions around your desired path will help the Jupiter/North Node conjunction lock in on that to move you forward.
It is also important to look at what house Taurus falls in your chart to get a sense of what area of life you would expect to see this change. For example, if Taurus is in your 4th house, you may contemplate your house, the city you live in, the people you live with, and your general personal environment. Are these supportive of your soul and your growth? Are there things you are dissatisfied with, but haven’t made a move to change? This would be the time to set yourself on a path of change, and then let Jupiter and the North Node rocket you toward a new situation more aligned to your goals.
Also this month, Venus moves from Cancer to Leo. This marks a big shift in the relational energy we feel toward others. Venus also joins Mars when she moves into Leo. Normally she would catch up to, and pass, Mars since Venus moves more quickly, but since Venus is slowing down and preparing for a retrograde in Leo, she actually just spends June chasing Mars through Leo without ever catching him before she stations retrograde in late July. This extended Venus conjunct Mars energy is passionate and explosive, and it has similarities to the energy we experienced in Jan, Feb, and March of 2022. In that case, Venus and Mars were moving through Capricorn and Aquarius together because Venus had just come off of a retrograde and was still moving slowly. However, the Capricorn Venus/Mars energy was much more formal, and indicative of relational boundaries and frustrations over those boundaries not being honored. The Leo Venus/Mars energy will be much warmer, and more inviting – if anything, it will burn with so hot a passion that it threatens to burn us out in the process.
Flow with the energies this month to spend time on whatever you are passionate about – enjoy this energy! Often we wish for motivation and can’t seem to muster it, so this opportunity when passion is running through our hearts is one to take advantage of! However, make sure to save some energy for yourself during this time. It will be easy to lose yourself in relationships and in passion projects during this time because you feel motivated and inspired, but not realize how much you are wearing yourself down in the process. Self care will be a good theme for us to keep in mind this month along with pursuing your passions!
Regardless of the self-care we try to institute, though, we are likely to finish the month of June feeling exhausted and like we need some down time alone, or down time with people who require very little energetically from us. With all of these fiery Leo energies, there just isn’t an opportunity to slow down and find the cooling water among the rampant fire. However, we start to get an opportunity to do that later in the month as the Sun moves from outgoing Gemini to inwardly-focused, nurturing Cancer. The Cancer Sun will bring a much needed drink of refreshing mountain stream water after an intense fire spent the early part of the month evaporating any water around us.
Notice how you feel when the Sun moves to Cancer. You are likely to still feel the pull of passion and motivation, but also be acutely aware of how much energy you have spent earlier in the month. The last week of June would be a wonderful time for a relaxing spa day, or a day at home just relaxing and reading your favorite books or performing your favorite rituals. If possible, plan some downtime for the last week of June, and at a minimum, ensure that your calendar isn’t so booked that it will be difficult to schedule in any last minute needed relaxation.
Between the expansiveness and growth of the Jupiter/North Moon Node conjunction early in the month, and the sustained Venus/Mars in Leo conjunction throughout the month, all of the themes this month are outward-facing. It is a time to go – not a time to only be. Move forward on your soul’s rocketship propelled by all the fires of your passion – just make sure you have plans for a relaxing oasis or two along the way.
Photo by Rafael Garcin on Unsplash
The energetic shifts of March were intense! With Pluto, Saturn, and Mars all changing signs within two weeks of each other, the seismic shift in energy created was enormous. And, just as with a geological earthquake, an energetic earthquake also has aftershock waves that continue to reverberate as a new equilibrium is found.
If we think about what an actual earthquake consists of, we start to more closely see the parallels between our energetic experiences last month, and where we find ourselves today.
Earthquakes occur when the giant set of tectonic plates that make up the earth’s upper crust shift against each other and the pressure becomes enough to cause movement along the boundaries of the tectonic plates (or fault lines) as they shift to release pressure that has built up between them.
Most of us have heard of the “aftershocks” that often come after an earthquake, but what are they really? According to The United States Geological Survey, Aftershocks are a sequence of earthquakes that happen after a larger mainshock on a fault. Aftershocks occur near the fault zone where the mainshock rupture occurred and are part of the “readjustment process” after the main slip on the fault.
This, friends, is what the month of April is really about! Several large shifts have occurred, and there is a readjustment process that has to occur to find the new “normal” after all of this tension has been released. Practically, what does that look like?
If we look at what our biggest “fault lines” were in the month of March, they consist of Pluto at the end of Capricorn and in early Aquarius, Saturn at the end of Aquarius and in early Pisces, and Mars at the end of Gemini and in early Cancer. For those with personal planets in any of these areas of the zodiac, the energy shift will have felt even more momentous. Post seismic shift, let’s look at where the energies will settle out over the next few months (and, in Pluto’s case, years).
With Pluto being the slowest moving planet, its movement is likely to create the largest and most far-reaching cosmic shift. We are now experiencing the early days of Pluto in Aquarius. Pluto will retrograde back into Capricorn in June and will continue moving back-and-forth across the Capricorn/Aquarius boundary for the next few years. These early days of Pluto in Aquarius are likely to feel initially less restrictive. Capricorn is a highly structured sign, and Pluto moving through Capricorn has given all of us reason to feel more keenly the bonds that societal structures place on us. When we pair Pluto’s move into Aquarius, with Saturn moving out of Aquarius with its disciplined energy, there will be ways in which Pluto in Aquarius feels incredibly freeing from a societal perspective. This may mean moving more fully toward the end of covid, being freer to move about freely without restrictions, travel, etc. It also may mean more freedom in the way we interact societally. For example, many of us are now very used to using video calls and other means to stay in touch with people beyond just in-person conversations. For the new group of people working from home more permanently, there is a whole new freedom in the way they can show up to work (i.e. their cat walking in front of their computer screen during a meeting, or wearing yoga pants instead of dress slacks). A lot of this energy is freeing and amazing.
However, Pluto will never let us linger blissfully ignorant at the surface. Pluto will always prompt us to go deeper and to understand more fully. With so many of us having spent so much time by ourselves and in our homes during covid, what does reintegrating with society look like? Is it more stressful for us to interact societally? Are we realizing that what was “working” for us societally before was only working because we didn’t know any other way? Pluto in Aquarius will be helping us plumb the depths to understand our relationship with society and our place in it. Whereas several years ago, we may have seen ourselves by default as members of specific communities, neighborhoods, and friend groups, we may now be questioning whether those are the groups we want to be part of. What in our existing pre-covid societal structure was working for us, and what actually wasn’t that we now want to change? These are questions Puto in Aquarius will encourage us to ask. There may be people considering job changes, moving to new cities, and intentionally creating new friend groups, because they are starting to realize the limitations of their previous communities.
In the midst of this big shift as we try to parse what we did and did not like with our previous societal interactions, we have a New Moon in Aries – the second one this year! It is rare to get two New or Full Moons in the same sign in the same year. However, we had an Aries New Moon kicking off the equinox at 0 degrees of Aries in March, and now we have a second one a month later in the final degree of Aries right before the Sun and Moon move into Taurus. And to supercharge this rare second New Moon in Aries even more, it takes place within a few degrees of the North Moon Node, meaning that it is also a total solar eclipse.
What does this mean, especially as we are all trying to stabilize after the intensity of the planetary shifts in March?
This Aries New Moon and Solar Eclipse will be about embracing new ideas, new paradigms, and new ways of “being” after this cosmic shift. Rather than focusing on how to “get things back to normal”, which wouldn’t allow us to integrate the learnings from the past few years, we can use the New Moon/Eclipse energy to make the deep, Plutonian changes we need to make. Oftentime, recognizing a change that needs to be made is Step 1, but if we can’t get beyond that to actually making the change, the new energy withers before it really gets going. In the synchronicity of the Universe, right after this tectonic shift comes, it is followed by initiatory energy to help us take that shift and run with it to create something better – in our own lives and in our communities. This is the great task for all of us throughout the month of April – identify the old and stale that is no longer helping us, determine what changes we need to make, and start working to make those changes in a real and concrete way. We can even think of this as a break-down to build-up. Wherever we feel stuck and limited, and feel like we can’t build farther, those are areas that are prime candidates to start deconstructing during this month to build a foundation for a whole new set of behaviors and structures. Big work like this takes time! So remember that small, baby steps in this direction are perfect; certainly don’t feel the need to complete all of this by the end of April! If we all start taking positive steps and making positive changes, we will see more opportunities emerge to take that energy farther as we move further into 2023.
Photo by Jason Ortego on Unsplash
The planetary shifts in March are intense, and there are more changes happening this month than any month in the recent past. Many planets are changing signs this month. Venus is moving into Taurus, a sign that she rules. After six months in Gemini, Mars is finally moving into Cancer.
However, there are two very important and less frequent planets changing signs this month, both of which involve Saturn.
Let’s start with a little background on Saturn. Saturn is the classic “Father Time” figure. He is noted for bringing discipline, working through hardship, and staying focused on long-term vision rather than optimizing for short-term gain or instant gratification. More generally, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, Saturn is there to help your effort find success.
In traditional astrology, Saturn rules two adjacent signs, Capricorn and Aquarius, and as the Sun moves through these two signs each winter in the northern hemisphere, we have our coldest and darkest days of the year. This is not a coincidence as we think about Saturn’s significations. Life is hard in the winter, especially historically. If you did the work to store grain and food for the winter, you were able to make it through until spring. If you didn’t put in disciplined work, winter was an extremely difficult time.
Saturn has spent the past approximately six years first in Capricorn and now in Aquarius, so it has been traversing signs that it rules during the recent past. After six years of this, on March 7, Saturn departs Aquarius and moves into Pisces, a sign in which it doesn’t have dignity and a sign in which its hard work and discipline is less appreciated. Pisces encourages connection to the universal life flow – not to hard, disciplined work to create things in the three-dimensional world.
This is a big shift for Saturn, and will likely result in Saturn trying to bring disciplined energy to artsy Pisces themes. This next three years is likely to be a time of more dedicated work and money going into painting, music, film, and other art forms. Whereas people may have been more fluid in their artistic approaches in the past, we will likely see art techniques emerge that require more time and discipline and effort to perfect. This in itself is a large Saturnian shift.
However, there is another even larger Saturnian shift coming toward the end of the month.
Pluto, which has spent approximately the past 15 years since 2008 in Saturn-ruled Capricorn is making its first move into Saturn-ruled Aquarius on March 23rd, shortly after the spring equinox. Pluto will spend the next few years retrograding back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius, so we will see some overlapping themes between these two energies, but this is Pluto’s first foray into Aquarius since it was discovered in 1930.
Pluto’s intense, transformative energy applied to Capricorn has shown us the cracks in governments, financial institutions, the economy, the job market, our ability to work through global health crises, and other public, Capricorn-oriented institutions. Think of the 2008 housing crisis (which kicked off as Pluto moved into Capricorn) and the covid pandemic and resulting supply chain shortages and economic problems (which happened at the end of Pluto’s traversal through Capricorn). Pluto has shown us weaknesses in our existing institutions. Pluto in Aquarius is going to look very different.
Where Capricorn is about institutions, Aquarius is about societies. Where Capricorn is about fitting into known structures, Aquarius is about creating new structures that work for a greater proportion of people. Where Capricorn is about what most of us would call “climbing the corporate ladder”, Aquarius is about finding ways to make the ladder more equitable for more people to climb. Although this sounds like a fantastic shift, it is important to remember that no Zodiac sign is “good” or “bad”, or even “better” or “worse” than another Zodiac sign. Every sign has its strengths and its shadows, and Pluto in a sign tends to show us the shadow sides as a cautionary tale. We have definitely spent the past 15 years seeing the shadow sides of some of our Capricorn institutions and organized structures. Now, with Pluto in Aquarius, it’s time to see a different shadow side. Fighting for equality and equity is important, and being mindful of our community is important. But with the shadow side of Aquarius, the reason for the fighting can get lost and we are just fighting to win, and we find ourselves feeling hate and contempt for the other side. Because Aquarius is oriented around creating new social structures, it feels no need to fit into existing social structures. This can be helpful for breaking out of old patterns, but also firmly establishes Aquarius as a rebel who will not be swayed by peer pressure. The shadow side of Aquarius occurs when people embrace this rebel attitude, disconnect themselves from the very people they want to help, and remove themselves emotionally from society. Their path then becomes about winning a societal war that they believe is justified, but without having a heart-centered, compassionate approach. Aquarius (despite the way its name sounds) is an Air sign, not a Water sign. Aquarius is the Water-Bearer, the one who carries or holds space for the emotion of others. But in doing so, the shadow side of Aquarius is to become disconnected from their own emotions and to become a facilitator rather than a partner, an observer of others’ emotions rather than an emotional person themselves. And it is nearly impossible to bring productive, helpful social change from a place of unemotional detachment. From this place, “winning” starts to look more and more like “being right” rather than bringing society to a better place.
Now, of course, the next 20 years is not going to be all about the shadow side of Aquarius! But wherever Pluto goes, we find ourselves going into the Underworld to deeply understand which things are built on a firm foundation and which things have become distorted and corrupted. Pluto in Aquarius will show us some societal organizations that have clear visions and are making real change in the world to move the human race forward. However, it will also show us societal organizations that have become corrupted – that are more focused on being right and hating their opponents than they are on their original vision. That are so comfortable being the rebel that they don’t realize there is a difference between being disliked because you are different and being disliked because you are unreasonable and lack empathy.
However, all of this being said, one commonality between the two signs of Capricorn and Aquarius is that in traditional astrology, Saturn rules both signs. Setting up strong institutional structures and social structures both require patience, discipline, intense work, low ego, and maintaining a commitment to your vision and your duty. Saturn rewards those who build both institutional and societal structures in this way. Those people who have been laboring hard to build things in a highly ethical and disciplined way will begin to see the fruits of their labor through strong, solid structures. These are the structures we will see hold solid during the next 20 years of Pluto in Aquarius. Those that have tried to take shortcuts or who have fallen into the shadow side of Aquarius and become more focused on “being right” rather than “being good” will find their structures crumbling beneath them.
Many people feel a little apprehensive approaching Pluto. This is wise! In Greek mythology, Pluto, or Hades, is the god of the Underworld and accepts deceased souls into his kingdom. Nothing about this figure was light or merry; Plutonian energy is dark, heavy, and intense. However, it is not “bad”. Understanding something all the way down to its roots brings knowledge and wisdom and none of us wants to stay in the realm of the superficial forever. For those of us willing to accept Saturn’s lessons of putting in hard work and discipline and ethically “being the change we want to see in the world”, Pluto moving through Saturn’s sign of Aquarius for the next 20 years can be experienced very positively. Pluto will help us find and repair any cracks in the foundations of our beliefs and build a worldview and set of structures that will outlast us and stand the test of time. The more we can focus on the long game rather than quickly won and quickly lost gains, the more this cycle will represent a time of intense growth and development for each of us.
Photo by Oleg Chursin on Unsplash
Full Moons themselves are not rare events; we get them once a month. However, the Full Moon on August 11th is shaping up to be an extremely intense Full Moon.
As the Moon in Aquarius is opposing the Sun in Leo (this opposition is what creates a Full Moon), the Moon is also conjoining Saturn, which moved into Aquarius in December 2020. In addition, both the Sun and the Moon are squaring the North Node/Uranus conjunction in Taurus. This creates a big “T” shape in the sky, with the Sun at one end, the Moon and Saturn opposite to it at the other end, and Uranus and the North Moon Node at the bottom of the “T”. This is a lot of co-mingled energy! In a nutshell, the Sun and Moon are colliding with the intense Saturn/Uranus energy of the past year and a half while the North Node also happens to be on top of Uranus. With all of these planets and points involved, there is likely to be nothing straightforward about the energy of this Full Moon.
In general, Saturn squaring Uranus brings us themes of the push-and-pull between the familiarity of the established structure of things and the desire to break free of old habits and tear everything down and start over. We have all been feeling this push-and-pull collectively as a global society and personally as individuals since Saturn and Uranus first started forming this square as Saturn entered Aquarius on Dec 17th, 2020. That is a long time to feel such strong competing energies! Normally this aspect would come and go over the period of six months or so, but because of the unique ways that the Saturn and Uranus retrograde motions have stacked up during this square, we have been experiencing waxing and waning of this same square for over a year and a half, with the final almost exact square happening in early October 2022, giving us an exhausting cycle of vacillating between the desire to tear down existing structures and the desire to find comfort and a sense of safety in the familiarity of existing structures.
One very interesting aspect of Saturn/Uranus squares is that there is absolutely no ethics or morality attached to either the stability and structure of Saturn or to the rebellion and desire to tear things down of Uranus. For all of us individuals, and for us collectively as a society, some structures are important for a healthy life and a healthy society. However, it is equally true that some structures are holding us back personally and collectively and should be challenged and torn down. The eternal question that Saturn/Uranus aspects ask us is: Which structures will we benefit from tearing down and which structures will we benefit from strengthening? The answer to this question is never easy, and with an extensive year and a half during which we have all been wrestling with this question, it is exhausting to think about wrestling with this even more.
However, the energy of the Sun and Moon moving in to co-mingle their energy with this existing square will force us to confront the polarities of this energy in a new way. One thing that will feel startlingly different about the way the Full Moon activates these energies is that both Uranus and Saturn are outer planets that take many years to cycle the entire Zodiac. They are not personal planets; they are generational. However, the Sun and the Moon are our most personal planets. If you are born within a seven year period of someone else, you both probably have Uranus in the same sign. However, if you are born even just a day earlier or later than another person, it is likely you both have the Moon in a different sign.
This Full Moon will feel personal. Whereas some of our struggles over the past year and half may have had the spotlight focused more on the societal or cultural elements, this Full Moon will be shining the spolight directly on your life and on the structures you have erected to help yourself feel safe and protected and in a familiar and comfortable space. But, just like we are seeing some societal structures crumbling over the past few years to be replaced with hopefully better structures, this Full Moon will help us realize that there are structures in our lives that need a complete reinvention as well. The trick will be ensuring we tear down the correct structures; what will actually benefit from a complete overhaul?
What is even trickier is that even if we choose to break down the structures and relationships in our lives that actually are the ones that are holding us back, in the immediate aftermath of breaking them down, we may be left with a feeling of profound loss. It may not have been helpful to our soul’s development, but it was familiar and easy and known. Now we will be left with only unknowns.
The Unknown is generally a terrifying state for us as humans. Even if things are not great as they are, we can allow ourselves to slip into the numbness of routine. But when presented with the Unknown, it becomes almost impossible to ignore the questions at the back of our minds and to escape to a relative sense of safety; by far the best way to handle the Unknown is by passing through them, sitting with them, and allowing ourselves to feel the discomfort and take the time we need to think about the new structures we want to build in our lives. That is an incredibly scary proposition.
However, there are some really encouraging things about this particular Full Moon in Aquarius that will help us. Aquarius is a sign that is focused on social good, on helping others, and on bettering our communities, and this gives us a secret to coping through this time. If we can focus on providing help and support to others, it will paradoxically help lighten our load. This would be a wonderful time to engage in volunteer work, spend some time in a conversation with those you know need it, or even spend some time gardening and giving plants the nourishment they need. Recognizing that we are part of the larger, interconnected universe can help us feel intense relief in doing anything that boosts the energy and vibration of other co-dwellers on this planet. However, be careful not to use volunteer work as a way to hide from your own thoughts and inner work; new structures still need to be built in each of our lives. But focusing on supporting others can give us the strength to turn our will toward our own inner work as well.
Photo by Joe Dudeck on Unsplash
We have a Full Moon in Leo this month, and while that in itself is not unusual (it is an approximately yearly occurrence), it is unusual that we get this Full Moon while the Aquarius Sun and the Leo Moon are square the Moon Nodes.
What is a Moon Node?
First let’s talk about a little astronomy: what are the Moon Nodes? At a high level, there are a few different orbits to understand in order to comprehend the Moon Nodes. The earth is tilted as it revolves around this Sun; this results in the Sun and the Planets following a tilted path across our night sky rather than following the earth’s equator; this tilted path is called the ecliptic. If we ignore the rest of the sky and just look at the earth and the Moon, the Moon is also tilted as it revolves around the earth. So we have a tilted Moon orbit around a tilted earth orbit, and these two orbits have about 5 degrees of difference between them. What this means is that you will see the Moon at different parts of the sky as it revolves around the earth; sometimes it will appear farther north, and sometimes it will appear farther south (depending on where it is on its tilted orbit). There are two points (exactly opposite each other) where the earth’s tilted orbit (the ecliptic) and the moon’s tilted orbit intersect; these are known as the Moon Nodes. See this picture to easily visualize them! When the Moon is lined up with the Sun along these Nodes, that is when we get Solar and Lunar eclipses (but that is a topic for a different day).
When the Moon is midway between the two Lunar Nodes, it reaches a local “high” or “low” point in the sky, where it appears furthest north or furthest south before it starts moving back in the direction of the nodes. This area is called “the bends”. We could have a whole study just on the bends, but at a high level, it shows a time when the Moon is least likely to be eclipsed (or to eclipse) the Sun, because it is far away from the Nodes. This is an area that represents change (as the Moon at this point is preparing to change directions from the earth’s perspective to move back toward the neutrality of the nodes).
The Moon Nodes and this Leo Full Moon
Coming all the way back to our Leo Full Moon this week, the Leo Full Moon occurs exactly at “the bends” between the Nodes, so in addition to the usual exuberant Leo Full Moon energy we would usually expect, there is something a little different this year. There is a sense of change in the air. A sense of trying something we have not tried before. A sense of finding ourselves and bringing ourselves back.
The Energy of this Leo Full Moon
The Leo Full Moon is also always interesting, because by definition when the Full Moon is in Leo, the Sun has to be exactly opposite to it in Aquarius. (Full Moons always occur when the Sun and the Moon are opposite each other.) The Sun rules Leo and excels in Leo, but struggles to find its footing in Aquarius. The Sun is hot and bright, Aquarius is cold and dark. The Sun is joyous and loud; Aquarius is quieter and more circumspect. However, done carefully, the Sun can find its balancing force in Aquarius. Learning to integrate the heat and the cold, the noise and the quiet is truly a worthy cause, and the Leo Full Moon each year gives us a chance to do that, and no year more so than this one which finds the Sun and the Moon in the area of the Moon’s orbit that most promotes change: This area midway between the Moon Nodes.
Think about how you show up to yourself and to the world during this Full Moon. How much do you feel like a masked performer on the stage of your own life, vs how much do you feel free to allow your truest light to shine forth? Living our truth is hard and requires so much vulnerability and so much trust – trust that people will either love us for who we are or that we have decided their opinion is not central to us. This is a time to evaluate if there is anything we are showing to the world that feels so difficult to maintain that it doesn’t actually feel worth it. For those things…. how do we find ways to let our true self shine out via our Sun (Leo) while also recognizing that we may have very real social duties and obligations that are important to us?
In short: how do we bring our best true self to the world in a way that serves to help others rather than only ourselves? How do we use our brightest gifts in the service of each other and our larger groups and communities? How do we shift the narrative from one of duty to joy? And lastly: if we embrace this challenge and bring our whole selves to the world, how do we make peace with that and accept that there will be limitations in doing this? If our true self is viewed as being too strange, there may be people who no longer want to be our friends. If our true self doesn’t involve a high-powered corporate job, we may struggle more to have financial stability (or to be ok with not having financial stability!). A wise friend of mine called out that there is never a choice between the “good, easy way” and the “hard, bad way”. There are difficulties with any path we choose in life; what we have this week is a golden (an appropriate color for Leo!) opportunity to consciously make this choice. This Full Moon is about finding our true self in a sea of other people’s expectations and our own self-imposed duties and to decide how we want to present ourselves and our gifts to the world.
As the phrase commonly attributed to the great writer Oscar Wilde says, Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. In 1882, Oscar Wilde also wrote the following:
In some such way as this we could gather up these strewn and scattered petals of song into one perfect rose of life, and yet, perhaps, in so doing, we might be missing the true quality of the poems; one’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead…
With the Sun having entered Scorpio just a few days ago and Halloween just around the corner, we are starting down the path of the hours of darkness outnumbering the hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere. In the ancient Celtic world this was celebrated with Samhain, the festival celebrating the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. There is a definite sense of descending into the underworld during this time. In the northern hemisphere, the days are getting darker and colder and rainier, and we can literally see the deciduous trees shedding their leaves and shutting down until spring.
Although this can seem like a dark time and a time of death, there is a beauty in the turning inward and the introspection that this time brings. Even if we may not consciously be reflecting inward, it is highly likely that we are spending more time at home under a blanket than we did during the summer when we were much more outwardly facing and social. This is a time to think about the seeds we are metaphorically developing that will blossom in the springtime. Are we the kind of person we want to be? Are we living out our values? This isn’t a time to berate ourselves (which is rarely helpful for personal transformation anyway!), but it is a wonderful check-in point to see if we want to change course or alter direction.
And in so many ways, this is what the sign of Scorpio is really all about. Scorpio is a sign that celebrates the depths, and the very beginnings of seedlings that form that will grow into something amazing in the spring.
The Sun is not particularly at home in Scorpio. The Sun thrives when it is seen, and nothing about the Scorpio season celebrates what is seen. However, if the Sun spends its time in Scorpio wisely, it is likely that what the Sun manifests when he makes his way around the zodiac to Aries will be simply amazing. There is no beautiful thing to see without much work going on in the depths and behind the scenes. And this is what the Scorpio Sun is all about. Preparing what is below so that it can burst forth into glory.
It doesn’t feel arbitrary to me that in the classic “Zodiacal Man” which correlates Zodiac signs with body regions, that Scorpio is associated with (among other things) the reproductive organs. There is definitely a pre-birth component to Scorpio that ensures that there is something to be born in the spring.
Scorpio is also a Fixed Water sign, which further gives us clues into the characteristics of the Scorpio season. Fixed signs don’t change quickly, and they represent the most stable part of the season they occupy. (For Scorpio, this is midway through the Autumn.) There is a sense that it is really Fall. Leaves are falling, the weather is getting colder, the days are getting darker; we can’t fool ourselves into thinking that we are still in the Summer the way we often can during Libra season. This is one of the beautiful things about the Fixed signs; they so thoroughly manifest the power of the season they inhabit that we can see the full archetype of that season. For Autumn in the northern hemisphere, that full archetype represents a decent into darkness. In most areas, it also represents an increase in moisture and rain (remember that Scorpio is a Water sign! It is not surprising that our Fixed Water sign heralds the coming of wet days!).
With so much happening astrologically in fixed signs in 2021, the Sun’s entrance into Scorpio also prepares it to square or oppose Saturn, Uranus, and Jupiter over the next month. That is a set of three major aspects! There are definitely many areas for each of us to dig up within ourselves that will be difficult and unexpected, but that also have so much potential to really help us in our journey through life (especially with the final major aspect of the month being a square to our greater benefic planet Jupiter). Hard times are hard; but hard times can also bring good, even though good may feel so far from us.
As I watch the rain outside of my front window today and think about what that means for the Scorpio archetype, I am reminded that pre-birth typically involves darkness and water. That could be the water and darkness that cause a seed to sprout in the earth, the water and darkness that surround a baby in the womb, the tears we may cry in the darkness before we can rise at dawn as a stronger person, or the water and darkness from which humanity collectively came eons ago. Water and darkness are the harbingers of the change of life.
This is the beauty of our Scorpio season; it is our time to go deep within the dark areas of ourselves, do our shadow work, look unflinchingly into our truest selves and prepare the correct seeds to sprout during warmer seasons. This season, I hope I can work from this place of not re-birth, but pre-birth. Which dark corners of ourselves are ripe for examination so that we can manifest something different in the future than we have in the past? Scorpio contains the magic of that work; it is a time to prepare.
We are exactly experiencing our New Moon in Virgo as I write this; both the Sun and the Moon are at 14 degrees of Virgo. Virgo New Moons are excellent times to evaluate what is working for us and what is not, and to remove all of the cruft.
This year, our Virgo New Moon is particularly potent as the Sun and Moon are exactly trining Uranus in Taurus as the New Moon conjunction occurs. Uranus in Taurus often brings disruptions to our basic living needs…. food, shelter, money, and other material goods.
With Uranus in Taurus trining the Virgo New Moon, there are many positive ways this could manifest!
With so much outside of our control in 2020 and 2021, this might be an opportunity to take control of some of the small things we can control! Take your car in for an overdue oil change, organize that closet that you just haven’t had the motivation to get to, start a practice of doing food planning or preparation on your days off of work so that you have homemade food at the ready when you need it, spend some time on personal grooming (styling your hair, plucking eyebrows, or those other things we all did frequently before covid kept us home so much!).
The common theme here is positively disrupting and “cleaning up” (literally or figuratively) some of our Taurus-based areas of life. Particularly with everything we all have been dealing with over the past 18+ months with covid, it can sometimes feel hard to muster motivation for simple, easy, benign things like tidying our house, brushing our hair, and prepping food for meals. It can feel easier to “lose ourselves” in an imaginary world brought to us by our favorite author or our favorite Netflix show than to put any thought or energy into our physical world. But it is important to remember that we are actually physical beings in a physical world. Although it might be easy during these times to pretend that we don’t have hair to brush, the very act of being present in our bodies and doing something physical and down-to-earth can actually feel like a healing ritual, particularly during the Virgo Full Moon!
A wonderful way to start is to really ground yourself in your body. Sit in a comfortable place with as few distractions as possible, and take a few minutes to really check in with your body. Take a few deep breaths in an out, allowing each inhale and exhale to be 3-4 seconds in length. Gently clear out any chattering thoughts in your mind, and just allow yourself these few minutes to really focus on your body and your breath. As you breathe in and out, you are likely to become more aware of the rhythm of your heart beating. This is your own personal rhythm…. be attuned to it and notice it!
Whether you allow yourself time for cleaning your closet, alphabetizing your spice rack, or taking a few minutes just to breathe deeply into your body, allow yourself to find something physical and material that you may have been neglecting to take care of during this Virgo Full Moon, and put some energy into that area!
Sometimes writing is about effectively communicating information. Sometimes it is more evocative such that it conveys a feeling rather than specific information. Sometimes writing is a form of self-expression. Sometimes, though, writing is about attempting to grasp higher level universal truths and fit them to the lines and curves of our primitive human language and existence.
That is where I have mentally been the past week. There is a lot to say about the skies, as there always is, because the skies are always changing in endless (one might even suggest, eternal) cycles regardless of whether or not we notice.
But that is not what is on my heart to say tonight. Tonight, with Mercury exalted in Virgo loosely opposing Jupiter retrograde in Aquarius, I want to attempt to share larger, more philosophical thoughts in a way that I only might be able to tonight – with the stars aligning as they are.
Recently I heard news that a wonderful woman and a very wise psychic and astrologer had died unexpectedly. Although I did not know her well, I had experienced firsthand the power of her readings and her connection with the other world, and I mourned what the world lost in her wisdom and what her family lost through her passing.
We speak of “losing” someone, and that is exactly what a person’s passing feels like. Like a light going out on a dark night. Like your map blowing away while you are in an unfamiliar city. Like feeling lost even though you haven’t actually gone anywhere.
And of course for those who were closest to her, they didn’t lose only a spiritual woman and teacher; they lost a dear family member.
I don’t have any adequate words to mark her passing, but I felt compelled to say something. Because everything she taught and shared and believed in is so vital. And so real. On March 31, 2020 (coincidentally??) just as the pandemic was really starting and exactly as Jupiter and Pluto conjoined in Capricorn, and Saturn and Mars conjoined at 0 degrees of Aquarius, I had my first and only live conversation with her. A friend gifted me a reading with her, and I was not prepared by how much my life would change as a result of that reading. As she went through the reading, starting with my astrology chart and then fluidly moving to messages from my guides, I felt seen in a way that I had never felt before. As we spoke over the phone, the sky outside my home grew suddenly dark with clouds, and it started pouring rain. When we got off the phone, I felt almost as though I was awakening from a trance. I knew before my reading with her that I was just taking my first footsteps onto a different spiritual path…. what would become my life purpose, but her words affirmed that and gave me some specific direction. I have come so far spiritually over the past year and a half, and a huge part of this is due to her. I had actually just contacted her about a second reading since the skies (my inner skies and the outer skies) had changed a lot since our last conversation. I never got that second reading, but I am so grateful that I got the first.
The night before she passed, one of her sons and I got together to send her reiki, and I was just blown away by an image of her face in my mind with a powerful Leo energy and immense joy associated with it.
She passed as the New Moon in Leo was forming (on August 7th), midway between the double consecutive Aquarius Full Moons that bookend our Leo season (which she had written about just a few weeks before on instagram). It is unusual to have two consecutive Full Moons in the same sign. And it is a particularly unusual time this year, because midway between those Full Moons, the New Moon in Leo occurs just as the Sun conjoins Sirius (the day each year called Lionsgate).
Although it didn’t occur to me at the time that we were one day away from the Lionsgate Portal and the New Moon in Leo, it feels so natural that this time would have resonated with her. With the warm, enveloping energy of Leo so strong, and with the intuitive portal of rebirth and moving to higher levels of consciousness wide open, this seems like it would have been exactly a time for her energy. Nothing makes it better or easier that the world lost her, but it does at least feel as though she left surrounded by energy that resonated with her.
I am not able to articulate Universal Truth. Some things really are too big for the human brain, and certainly bigger than the human vocabulary. But A Universal Truth, such as I can describe it in words, seems to be that we actually never really lose a person. They go on ahead in order to be more fully found. But they continue to be knit with us through the memories in our soul, our shared experiences with them, and the fact that all life and all energy, and even all time, is intertwined. Wherever her beautiful energy and soul still exist, whatever astral planes she may be inhabiting, I send her the same wonderful vibes that she sent to everyone during her time on this earth.
Lughnasa – the final Celtic festival to celebrate the harvest. Celebrating the nearing end of summer and preparations for winter. Celebrating the last of the harvest while also facing the reality of another winter. Lughnasa falls on August 1, and this year it certainly does feel like the beginning of an end. Both of summer, which this festival marks, but also socially and astrologically.
Several days ago, Jupiter, after a brief respite in Pisces from May 13 – July 28, has retrograded back into Aquarius, leaving us wrestling with themes from several months ago that we likely thought ourselves past. Some of these are obvious and impersonal. The covid restrictions are an obvious example. As more and more people got vaccinated in the spring and early summer months and covid case numbers went down, many of us started to relax, feeling like after over a year and a half of restrictive Saturn energy (first Saturn co-present/conjunct Pluto in 2020, followed by Saturn square Uranus in 2021), we were finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Many of us started going to restaurants, started to see each other’s faces instead of just impersonal, emotion-hiding face masks. However, in the past few days, Jupiter our benefic planet retrograded out of his home sign of Pisces and into Aquarius where he spent the first half of 2021. He is no longer in a sign that he rules, and he is now back to being copresent with Saturn. What this means is that he is distinctly less able to work his “lucky” magic and the best we can hope for is a softening or a few bits of luck in our Aquarius-ruled areas of life. It is interesting to see how literally we are seeing this. Regardless of personal feelings that individuals may have about the covid vaccines, there is a very clear message from social and political leaders: Our way out of these newly-returned (Jupiter out of Pisces and back in Aquarius) restrictive measures (Saturn) is to get a vaccine (Jupiter, often positioned as a wise, benefic physician with healing remedies).
Apart from this very apparent difference we are seeing of Jupiter’s influence in Pisces versus moving back to Aquarius… what else may we expect to see due to this shift? It is partially complicated (of course!) because nothing happens in isolation. Jupiter retrograding back into Aquarius is not the only thing happening in the sky during this time! However, for the purposes of this post, I want to focus on Jupiter’s move from Pisces to Aquarius and the shift in energy that movement by itself will bring.
Aquarius is the coldest sign which occurs (in the Northern hemisphere) during the deepest part of the winter, when living things are most in hibernation mode and there is not yet a glimmer of rebirth in the frozen ground. Aquarius is also a fixed sign; there is no view yet of a transition to spring. Pisces represents a time of increasing warming and a time of change. The days are getting longer, and spring is imminent. The end of a cycle is completing and the new beginning is about to rise (quite literally) as a phoneix out of the ashes of the soil in spring.
A retrograde of Jupiter, the planet called in ancient times the “greater benefic” from the sign of Pisces into Aquarius will definitely cause a strong energetic shift. This may definitely feel like an energetic loss of optimism. Again, we may be seeing this in a literal way via the covid situation, but we also feel this on many other levels in our life. Areas in our lives where we may have felt change happening, the figurative ground of our souls starting to soften in preparation for new seeds to sprout, may now start to feel as though the change is stagnating or even reversing. We are becoming stuck for some reason we can’t define. The optimism that came so readily a few weeks ago may be difficult to find now. Particularly with Jupiter moving back to be co-present with Saturn in a Saturn-ruled sign, there will be even more of a feeling of increased restrictions, boundaries around us, and a cage (visible or invisible) that we just can’t break free of. In some ways, this may feel even more restrictive than the previous Jupiter in Aquarius energy in the beginning part of 2020, because we were used to restrictions then. Now, after experiencing the gorgeous Piscean rainfall of Jupiter on the parched ground of a Capricorn/Aquarius-dominated time, these restrictions may feel even greater, and the figurative chains on our ankles may feel even more chafing.
However, although this paints a somewhat bleak picture, there are good parts mixed in here as well! Any areas that are Aquarius-ruled in your life have been under a huge constrictive influence over the past few months with only Saturn in that sign. With Jupiter there now, you are likely to get a little luck back in those areas. Anything that has been especially blocked may get a little positive bump or nudge into an easier direction.
Also, Aquarius is the sign of social awareness and justice and the sign of technology. These are both definitely areas that could use an infusion of some of Jupiter’s benefic rays!
It is also important to be aware that Jupiter is retrograding into Aquarius; we have seen what Jupiter in Aquarius looks like between December 19, 2020 and May 13, 2021. Jupiter in Aquarius is not new to us! There is nothing in this energy that will likely feel new. Jupiter is retrograding through a path it has already recently traversed. So this is less about experiencing new restrictions than about a final opportunity to really close out some of the older themes in a productive way. If we just “got through” the first part of 2021 but didn’t really learn how to “be” in that restrictive space and deal with the increased boundaries in a positive way, this is a chance to go back and re-integrate some of that. If we had feelings around social justice, better uses for technology in our new air-centric world but didn’t really do anything about those feelings, this is the time! Whenever we have retrograde planets, there is a sense of turning inward rather than outward. So start with your internal work first before rushing out to make positive outward changes; this is the real wisdom that Jupiter retrograde into Aquarius can bring us.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom – Aristotle
People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. – St. Augustine
There has been so much change across the world over the past several months that it almost feels unbelievable that there could be much more change. However, May 10-15 was a significant week on the astrological front and, while nothing as prominent as the Saturn-Pluto conjunction happened over that week, there were still subtle but distinct shifts in energy that all of us will feel more or less, depending on natal chart placements.
Let’s start with Saturn, which stationed retrograde at 1 degree of Aquarius on Sunday, 5/10 in the Pacific timezone. There was a little relief when Saturn departed from Capricorn so that it was no longer co-present with Pluto and the South Node. Now Saturn is headed back for its last set of interactions in Capricorn for almost three decades, and there will definitely be a theme of closing things out. Although Saturn won’t actually enter Capricorn until July 2nd, its retrograde slows down any momentum that it has been gathering in Aquarius and moves it closer to revisiting its conjunction with Pluto. Wherever Capricorn lies in your natal chart, expect a brief return to some of those recurring, perhaps more difficult, Saturn/Pluto themes from the past 2 and a half year as those energies become fully integrated in your life and head towards their final chapter.
One day later, on May 11th, Mercury moved into Gemini. Moving from the slow, plodding fixed sign of Taurus into its home sign of Gemini will be a move that greatly strengthens Mercury’s power, and communication will see an energetic boost. This is one of the more positive movements in the month of May, and any boost we can get to communication (particularly given that the majority of it is now done via video conferencing for most of us!) will be welcome.
One day later, late, on May 12th, Mars finally departed Aquarius for Pisces. While Mars in Pisces is not particularly inspiring as the Piscean dreaminess is antithetical to the Mars “get things done” attitude, this will be the first time since Feb 17th that Saturn and Mars won’t sharea sign. Putting a sign boundary between them should definitely provide some relief from the Mars/Saturn tension from the earlier part of the year. Mars in Pisces will likely be all about “doing”, but will direct that “doing” based on Piscean/dreamy intentions that may or may not be reflected in objective reality, so some of this Martian action may not result in the intended consequence. When Mars departs Pisces for Aries on June 28th, we will likely see a much more aligned, effective energetic push towards movement and accomplishment!
A few hours after Mars departed Aquarius, late on May 12th, Venus stationed retrograde in Gemini. While a retrograde Venus certainly doesn’t make relationships easier, it provides an excellent opportunity to revisit aspects of your relationships that may or may not be working and provide the chance to really evaluate what is serving you in your relationships, and what could benefit from an overhaul.
Then, two days later on May 14th, Jupiter joined Pluto, Saturn, and Venus in retrograde motion as it stationed at 27 degrees Capricorn. All of these retrograde planets will definitely lead to a collective “slowing down” with less forward motion than we would typically like, and a lot of revisiting old ideas/thoughts/evaluations in our minds over and over as we look for better solutions, and generally experience delayed gratification, particularly since both benefics – Venus and Jupiter – are among the retrograde planets.
Bottom line: there was a lot of planetary action starting the week of May 10th, and much of it related to planets moving retrograde!
In fact, we saw three planets station retrograde during that four day period. The word retrograde comes from the two Latin roots of gradi (meaning “to walk”) and retro (meaning “backwards”). So the word literally means to walk backwards. And that is exactly how retrogrades tend to feel… as though we have taken the proverbial two steps forward and one step backward, unable to make the forward progress we are trying to and likely feeling somewhat frustrated in the attempt. This will be felt in nearly all areas of our charts that these four planets touch. Mercury will join the retrograde party on June 18, just a few days before Venus stations direct on June 24/25. We will be dealing with this general planetary retrograde motion for several months, as the various remaining outer planets move into retrograde (Neptune on June 23, Uranus on August 16, and Mars on September 10). As can be seen from the rough diagram below, all of the planets will spend some amount of time retrograde in 2020, and some of them (particularly the outer planets) will spend a significant portion of the year in retrograde.
What do all of these retrogrades mean? How “bad” are retrogrades? Although the idea of taking two steps forward and one step back doesn’t sound appealing to most of us, it seems as though it is already a strikingly accurate description for the way the after-effects of the giant Saturn-Pluto conjunction that coincided with the worldwide covid-19 pandemic are playing out. This is true on both an individual level and on a collective level.
Collective Retrograde Effects
As a collective, it would be hard to think of another time in recent history in which we have spent so much time agonizing and re-agonizing over decisions, trying to find the correct path forward. The news the past few weeks is rife with economic re-opening plans that are continuously re-evaluated as more data becomes available. Expected economic re-opening dates are announced, and then get pushed out farther. Re-openings start to happen and then are brought to a halt again. Restaurants are poised and ready to open and are continuously reviewing all guidelines for a safe re-opening over and over as more as the guidelines start to formalize.
Personal Retrograde Effects
And then, on a personal level, even for those geographic areas and industries where the economy is starting to re-open, everything looks very different than before and there is a feeling of having “retrograded” from the freedom that we experienced in January. Going grocery shopping takes longer than usual and requires extra vigilance to keep six feet between yourself and others. Even an activity as simple as walking down a sidewalk requires attention to detail and frequent detours to the road to keep from inadvertently passing too near another person. Buying simple items like flour or toilet paper may require trips to multiple stores.
Retrograde Effects by Planet
Yes, we are certainly seeing classic retrograde symptoms in our world already. And if we look at the four planets currently in retrograde (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto), how would we expect to see this manifested in particular?
Venus is retrograde in Gemini, which at a surface level would indicate that communication in our relationships would be delayed/frustrated during this time. YES!! Has anyone not been struggling to communicate over Zoom, with family, friends, and coworkers during this time! Has anyone not experienced Zoom fatigue on multiple levels over the past few months? Is there anyone whose communication has been been overall easier and more understandable and concise recently. (If so, we should talk; I would love to see your natal chart! 😉 )
Jupiter & Pluto
Jupiter and Pluto are retrograde in Capricorn, which would lead us to think transformation (Pluto) and prosperity/growth (Jupiter) would experience delays/frustration in many of our erected structures (whether political, social, governmental, etc). YES!! All of the boundaries which we have erected based on social distancing/flattening the curve are slowing down prosperity/growth on a global as well as a personal scale. In addition, our efforts to transform the structures around the ways we work has been painful and difficult for many of us. Finding our new daily routine, adapting to life without physically spending time with friends, family, or coworkers, figuring out how to either manage being unemployed during this time or how to continue working effectively from home…. this has required a transformation for all of us in all of our daily habits and routines.
Saturn is currently retrograde in Aquarius (and soon to be Capricorn) before it goes direct. That would lead us to look for delays relating to boundaries and new and potentially revolutionary technologies as well as humanitarian efforts. Again, we are certainly seeing struggles in those areas. As we attempt to find a balance between providing support for those affected either physically or economically by the virus, we are all caught in a macroscopic and microscopic struggle to find new ways of working, new ways of helping others, new ways of slowing down the virus, etc.
What can we expect next? Neptune is the next planet to go retrograde in Pisces (its home sign) on June 23. All of this collective energy of dreaminess may result in assumptions based on fantasy rather than reality that further slow down our ability to move out of this massive covid-19 time. Or, since Neptune is in its home sign in Pisces and hopefully exhibiting its more positive qualities despite the retrograde, maybe the Piscean collective dreaminess and knowledge that we are all together in this will result in some creative (although potentially delayed) solutions?
Regardless, while this is a long stretch with a variety of planetary challenges and we find ourselves re-evaluating decisions over and over as more data becomes available and conclusions we made last week may now be irrelevant, it is important to find the areas where these configurations can counter-intuitively set us up for success and help us move forward in the longer-term.
We have all been given a unique opportunity to evaluate what really has a purpose in our lives versus what has just “been there” but doesn’t reflect an energy we want to cultivate. This could be a habit we want to break, a person who doesn’t contribute to the energy we want to surround ourselves with, a job that doesn’t fulfill us, a lifestyle choice that we have outgrown, a routine we don’t have job in following. We can all pay particular attention to the houses in which these retrograde planets fall for us for pointers on which areas of our lives could benefit from a second look. (Certainly the Capricorn house in each person’s chart will have been particularly activated over the past several years and especially in the first half of 2020.)
Essentially as some of the largest cyclical motions in our solar system have temporarily ground to a halt and slowly reversed directions, a pause button has effectively been pressed. We all have the opportunity to step back, evaluate the direction of our lives, and make any needed changes so that we are ready as the pause button is released. When fairer skies come in the future, they may be even fairer based on our ability to evaluate the areas of our lives that need to be transformed and on our motivation to put in the work (whether physical, psychological, spiritual, or emotional) to do just that.