Saturday, May 3, 2008
In Minnesota, the weather has had a hard time turning to spring. Snowflakes fell here last week and are predicted tonight as I write this. Even though the lingering cold is somewhat tedious, I am glad that this spring is more normal—more like what it is supposed to be like in April and early May in Minnesota. I know how to relate to this slowly awakening earth, the rhythmic rising and falling of sweet sap, the brave ephemerals blooming under frost, and the glorious, warm sunshine when it does appear. In spite of a beautiful, slow-blooming spring, we still know not all is right with our Earth and our relationship to nature. As inspired astrologer, Caroline Casey, likes to say, the situation is dire.
Astrologers have been noticing the effects of outer planets in the earth signs. Pluto in Capricorn has manifested as the housing/oil prices crisis. The old way of doing business, a Capricorn issue, needs to change. Jupiter in Capricorn is helping with the global transition into dealing with difficult Capricorn issues. Saturn in Virgo has manifested as increased attention on how we can make a difference in our Earth crisis. In the April 20 edition of the New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan, author of the Ominvore’s Dilemma, wrote a wonderful article about how small individual efforts to change the world just might make a difference. The title of the article is, Why Bother? Saturn encourages slow and steady work. Virgo says pay attention to every detail, every connection, to achieve health and wholeness.
The third earth sign, Taurus, has been dormant until this spring. Now we can add an important ingredient to our earth stew. Taurus contributes the force of beauty, attention to what our bodies need, and an invitation to explore our relationship to true abundance.
This May New Moon occurs exactly midway into Taurus, a fixed sign. The midpoints of the fixed signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, are powerful points in the turning of the year’s wheel. Pagans celebrate the cross-quarter sabbaths at these times. Although May 1st is the customary day on which Beltane is celebrated, the astrological Beltane happens when the Sun reaches 15 degrees of Taurus, around May 5th each year. This year, the Moon joins the Sun on this day heightening Beltane’s power to invoke the renewing power of the good green earth. This year, Beltane’s invitation to honor the earth and all beauty within and around us is in effect for the whole lunar cycle. The pattern for working with the Moon is to set intention at the new phase. As the Moon waxes during the first two weeks we take action on behalf of those intentions. At the full phase, we receive the illuminating light of our efforts. During the waning part of the Moon cycle, we share wisdom and begin to surrender form into compost. All dreams and efforts on behalf of those dreams make rich humus for the future.
The charts for the New and Full Moon and some of the transits during this month illuminate the Beltane invitation
There is a grand earth trine in the chart for the New Moon. A grand trine represents harmonious power if we tap the resource. We have to consciously choose to engage the energy of a grand trine. In this earth trine, Saturn ,the god of manifestation and form, Pluto, the god of transformation, and Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, are representing this power. Although Pluto and Saturn remain in their earth domains, with Pluto taking a short hike back into Sagittarius this summer, for a significant time into the future, these two planets will only remain in this trine relationship for this month. And Venus moves quickly, she will leave Taurus on May 24. This is a good month to invoke and practice earth wisdom.
Venus rules Taurus. As part of my earth practice this month, I will be paying extra attention to the following Venus transits.
May 17 thru May 20 is a particularly potent Venus time.
May 17 Venus is square to Chiron. Noticing the wounds around relationship with beauty, Chiron invites us to become the healer and teacher.
May 18 Venus is sextile to Uranus. The opportunity to engage our revolutionary spirits in the cause of beauty.
May 19 Full Moon. Illumination in the last degree of Taurus. The balance of death (Moon in Scorpio) with rebirth (Sun in Taurus). At the Full Moon, Venus is near the Sun and is square to Neptune. Venus’ potential in this chart is to integrate the polarity of Taurus and Scorpio. Looking with clear eyes at our fears and our authentic needs for survival, we can ask, What do we really need? Neptune’s role is to show us how we escape into the nearest shiny thing, without thought of impact or authentic desire. What does authentic desire mean to you? Is it something found on TV? Is there a place in nature that teaches you how to be authentic to your own desires? What small action will you take to reconnect with the Earth? How will you let beauty lead you into soul redemption? These are some of the questions I hold this lunar month. At the Full Moon, may there be progress in my soul to claim my birthright of beauty, balance and delight, as my friend Donald Engstrom prays daily.
May 20 Exact square between Venus and Neptune. Illusion is a teacher; dream is a teacher also. How are you being taught by your illusions and dreams? Neptune brings awareness of longing, grief, and transcendence. How do you honor all these feelings?
Venus leaves Taurus on May 24 and enters air sign Gemini. Awareness moves from body to mind. Now Venus challenges and is challenged by transformative Pluto and responsible Saturn.
May 25 Venus is quincunx to Pluto. She stretches to find a way to align thought with necessary regeneration.
May 26 Venus is square to Saturn. Venus challenges us to think and communicate about action and service (Saturn in Virgo) to our beloveds. Venus’ natural mode of operation— to inspire and invite— is challenged by Saturn’s practicality. What is the disconnect you feel around desire and action on behalf of those desires? Saturn is here to teach that lesson.
There are other astrological themes this month, which contribute to the celestial seasoning of now.
May 26 Mercury turns retrograde at 21 degrees Gemini. On May 11, Mercury enters the foreshadowing phase of this retrograde period. Mercury remains retrograde until June 11 (stations direct at 12 degrees Gemini). Mercury leaves the entire retrograde zone of the zodiac on July 4. Mercury, the trickster God, rules Gemini. This particular retrograde cycle should be interesting, especially in the arena of politics. Clinton has a natal retrograde Mercury in her chart and Obama’s Moon is at 0 degrees Gemini. The candidates are going to feel the trickster who will be asking us all to rethink, re-express, and think quickly in response to rapidly changing circumstances.
May 26 another planet turns retrograde—Neptune—at 24 degrees Aquarius. Every planet becomes stronger when it stations retrograde or direct. Along with Mercury stationing on the same day, this should be a time of strong intuition and uncanny insight and perhaps not such a good time for logical thought processes.
In this season of Taurus and of earth, I’ve been reading Wendell Berry poems because of his deep love of nature and how he grapples with human impact on nature. When despair threatens to overcome possibility, his solution:
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
May the blessings of the good green earth be with you this season.