Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Follow the Moon: Forecast for April 26—May 9

Where I live, the Taurus season is the most beautiful. Life is miraculously erupting all around. The long season of winter is finally and definitively over. And what a relief that is. Beauty is nourishment. Taurus, as the fixed earth sign, knows about nourishment and what the body needs and delights in. The Earth opens up in this season to replenish our souls and bodies. If there is a perfect lunar cycle to begin a gratitude practice, it would be this one. And that is what I intend to do this Taurus lunar cycle, which begins on April 26. It is time for me to turn around my cynicism and fears. The winter was a long one, a hard one. I find myself left will little in reserve. I need this nourishment. Perhaps you do too.

My friend, Uncle Bear, is teaching me about gratitude’s gifts. [You can check out his excellent vlog, Uncle Bear's Rodeo, on YouTube.]

Uncle Bear’s enthusiasm for the benefits of a gratitude practice is infectious and enticing. Scientific research is telling us that a practice of gratitude boosts physical and emotional wellbeing. Through this practice, we are more resilient and better able to shift out of harmful states of mind and emotion. And we don’t even have to be blissfully joyous. Sometimes the thing we are grateful for is small. In fact, the research shows that the search for gratitude, even in the midst of struggle, will give us the same effects as finding something to be grateful for. Gratitude practice seems like a simple way to feel better about the world. Who wouldn’t want that? So, why is it still a struggle for me to remember? I need a push. I accept Taurus’ gift of abundant beauty as an easier way in to practice gratitude for life’s essentials. Taurus appreciates the essentials, the basic things that give pleasure, sustenance, and stability. This month, I hope to discover what is essential for good life and good relationship.

An interview with Brother David Steindl-Rast (On Being ), a spiritual expert on gratitude, has recently inspired me to begin this practice. He describes the parts of a thanksgiving practice: stopping to be present, letting our senses take in the moment, and allowing enough time so the experience of joy (and it can be very small) spills over into a state of thankfulness. He uses the metaphor of a vessel overflowing. He says gratefulness needs to overflow. I am attracted to this idea—a small vessel in the heart that overfills with joy. The size is important. It must be a small vessel because the hardness of this world is big and I can’t always find expansive joy in it. Size doesn’t matter, but it must spill over.  

This Taurus season I invite you to find those small vessels in your heart and let them overfill with beauty and gratitude. My mantra for the practice is: Be here. Behold. Be overfilled. Be thankful.

Moon in Taurus
April 26—New Moon: Seeding. Can you feel the fertile Earth welcoming the seeds of intention today? Where I live, it is easy to imagine any intention I undertake right now will be well supported by the season of spring and Taurus. Not everyone lives where I do, however. So, I stretch my imagination to hold those differences, all the different experiences of Earth and season at this moment. How are these seeds settling where you live? Taurus is the sign that anchors the earth element. It brings those qualities to the wheel of life—our bodies and senses, our values and resources, the things that support and sustain us, the sacred cycles of life. Taurus is fertile potential, the most fertile of signs, and still, there is no guarantee our seeds will survive. So, we plant seeds of desire and give our dreams to mystery. Taurus is about that too.

The chart for the New Moon shows retrograde Mercury conjunct Uranus in Aries. Due to retrograde motion, this is the second time Mercury has met up with the planet of change and awakenings. The first time was at the New Moon in Aries last month. Mercury is playing an interesting game. The final and last time that Mercury will conjoin Uranus is at the next Full Moon on May 10. It is almost like this trickster planet wants to make a point. We are not in control. And that doesn’t feel good under Taurus influence. Taurus wants and encourages stability. Mercury and Uranus in Aries are anything but. So, we change the metaphor. This influence is like the sudden thunderstorm that brings hail, which helps the newly sown fields to germinate. Sometimes things need to fall apart before a more resilient structure is created. We are in that process now.

The longing is for stability. Saturn in Sagittarius helps by making a trine to Mercury and Uranus. Trines support. Even though things seem terribly unsettled, we aren’t giving up yet. Saturn’s influence is important. Rather than fight change, we are ready to embrace it. We have tools and are developing new ones all the time. Notice those innovations. Perhaps they are seeds of hope.
At the New Moon, Venus is poised to re-enter Aries. Venus stationed retrograde in that sign on March 4 and made her way back to Pisces before turning direct on April 15. Given that Mercury and Uranus have been throwing lightening bolts our way, you may have experienced disruption in relationships (Venus’ domain), while this volatile retrograde has been going on. Now, with the Taurus lunar cycle (Venus rules Taurus), we want to get back to harmony. The task is to acknowledge that our passions sometimes make it difficult to be nice. Perhaps we can find a new way to express them.

Taurus desires stability. Current Aries influence is disruptive. Chiron in Pisces just may break our hearts. In the New Moon chart, Chiron is square Saturn in Sagittarius. Chiron entered the sign of empathy and sacrifice on the day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Chiron’s journey has deepened awareness of water as sacred source of life. We see the wounds to water in the continuing pollution from this explosion in the Gulf, the continuing spread of radioactivity from Fukushima, the continuing struggle for clean water in Flint, the continuing struggle to protect water from oil pipelines crossing rivers and seeping into groundwater … this assault on water is an assault on life. The relationship between Saturn and Chiron reminds us that we have work to do. It may feel overwhelming. The seeds of prayers joined with action for the protection of water are welcomed at this fertile New Moon.

Forecast for April 27—May 9
Moon enters Gemini 8:39 pm CDT
Thursday, April 27
. Reverberations of the New Moon continue today while the Moon is in Taurus. Uranus conjunct retrograde Mercury (exact tomorrow) is stirring things up. Perhaps it is good to notice contrasting desires—the embodied fullness of the Taurus Moon and the impatient expectation of Uranus/Mercury. We have an opportunity to practice mindful embodiment while distractions and disruptions are high. Remembering your Taurus intention, how will you honor those seeds today, which are trembling to be born? When the Moon enters Gemini tonight (CDT), energy amps up. Mercury shenanigans (unexpected retrograde events) could easily increase. The good news, we may be more adaptable to those curve balls with this Moon’s influence.

Moon in Gemini
Friday, April 28.
Venus re-enters Aries and Mercury exactly conjoins Uranus in Aries today. Both of these events are repeats of recent transits due to retrograde journeys of both Venus and Mercury. This simultaneous retrograde period is not common and has really made an impact on the Venusian realms of relationship and diplomacy as well as mercurial things like communication and travel. Think United Airlines, and you get the picture. Perhaps today feels like an opportunity to reset the systems that have been disrupted in your life. Certainly it is a time to take another mindful breath. We are still processing. Notice the influence of the Moon in Gemini. This could be a very mentally and verbally active day. Are the words helping or are they obscuring what you need to do right now?

Moon enters Cancer 8:48 pm CDT
April 29—Crescent Moon: Germinating. This Taurus lunar cycle is an opportunity to tend the seeds of embodiment. The Earth speaks to us in the language of delight (through the season of spring), sustainability (through the cycles of life, death, and rebirth), and values (through awareness of relationships and dependencies). Such strong Earth messages invite a practice of gratitude. This practice is a chance to change our relationships. What is the story of your relationship to the land? For many of us, that story relates the consequences of colonization. Due to these histories, many of us have become disassociated from responsible relationship to the land. This responsibility includes acknowledging the harms that have been done to the land and indigenous people. Perhaps gratitude is a doorway to acknowledging these consequences.

If we want to grow past the harmful effects of colonization and disassociation, what actions might arise from your gratitude practice? The Crescent phase is a time to begin acting on behalf of our intentions. This is a natural time to take risks, try something new. The Gemini Moon encourages learning and connecting with people. The opposition between the Moon and Saturn in Sagittarius reminds us of our obligation to others. The movement from this social energy into Cancer encourages returning home to deepen what we are learning and desiring. As the Moon squares Venus in Aries this evening (CDT), we may notice the contrast between a need for the familiar and a curiosity about new people and relationships.

Moon in Cancer
Sunday, April 30.
The influence of a Cancer Moon in a Taurus lunar cycle is about as homey as one can get. Are you getting homey today? Notice what home and relationship to land mean to you. Not everyone is the same, but everyone needs a sense of belonging. Saturn in Sagittarius forms a square aspect to Chiron in Pisces for the second time due to retrograde motion. The first time was in December last year and the final one will be in November of this year. This middle transit asks us to reflect on our obligations to healing relationship. This is especially true of our relationship with water. As the Moon in a water sign makes a trine aspect to Neptune in Pisces (water planet in a water sign), deepen into both gratitude and prayerful action on behalf of water.

Moon enters Leo 11:12 pm CDT
Monday, May 1.
Traditional Beltane. For most of the day (CDT) the Moon is in Cancer, a complex sign that nourishes belonging and defends our sense of home. Cancer desires are strong today. That means we may feel more emotion and need more of the security and replenishment that comes from home. The Moon contacts Pluto in Capricorn and the conjunction of retrograde Mercury with Uranus in Aries today. These contacts are challenging and provoking. Our emotional reactions may be intensified by experiences of unbalanced power or stress and uncertainty. This may be a good day to anchor into a gratitude practice to ride out the waves. And because it is traditional Beltane, the cross-quarter Sabbath celebrating the season of Taurus, it is a good day to remember we belong to the Earth. How will you honor this home? How will you celebrate this beauty?

Moon in Leo
May 2—First Quarter Moon: Sprouting. Has the fertile soil of this Taurus lunar cycle produced any seedlings from your lunar intention? Now is the time to notice what is growing or failing to grow. Course correction is OK. That is the challenge of the first quarter Moon: what actions and adjustments must we make to nurture our intentions? The Moon teaches us to be adaptable. Rarely does an intention manifest the way we thought it would. What new information informs your next move?

My intention has been around cultivating a gratitude practice. The Moon in Leo can bestow grace and joy or it can feel like a deep questioning of our inherent value. Is this a challenge to your intention? What role does grace play in gratitude? How might gratitude restore grace that is missing?

Mercury will be stationing direct in Aries tomorrow. This Mercury is still conjunct Uranus. We are pushed to go past previous awakenings. You may have a sense that life is passing you by. If that is the case, it will be even harder to resist the personal revolutions that this transit offers. With help from Moon in Leo, Venus in Aries, Mars in Gemini, and Jupiter in Libra, we are poised to say, Yes! to the next invitation. The bolder, the better.

Moon in Leo
Wednesday, May 3.
A grand fire trine that includes a newly-direct Mercury in Aries ignites this day. The Moon in Leo, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Mercury and Uranus in Aries are having an animated conversation. The result could be a boost in creativity. It could feel like something that has been holding you back (Mercury retrograde) is suddenly loosened. What will you do with the surge of momentum? Since Uranus is involved, we may not be entirely in control of the situation but we are darn willing to give it a go. The Sun in Taurus makes an encouraging sextile to Neptune in Pisces. Inspiration is abundant. Notice that it might be easier to find gratitude today.

Moon enters Virgo 4:46 am CDT
Thursday, May 4.
The Moon in Virgo helps us check off the to do list. Today’s gratitude centers around the simple things, the kind of things that Virgo can revel in: organization, elegant solutions, pragmatic service, and people doing what they say they are going to do. Isn’t that divine?

Moon in Virgo
Friday, May 5.
Astronomical Beltane. The midpoint of each fixed sign (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) holds special significance and energy. These fixed signs are the guardians of their elements. Taurus guards earth. For this reason, some honor this day when the Sun reaches the midpoint of Taurus as the most potent time to celebrate Beltane, one of the 8 Sabbaths celebrated by some Pagans. A grand earth trine reinforces the potency. The Moon in Virgo, the Sun in Taurus, and Pluto in Capricorn form a bond that deepens connection to the delights of earth. Beltane is a time to invoke and honor the fertility of this season. Thinking ahead, what do you hope to harvest in the fall? What magic will you create to ensure those seeds bear fruit? For me, magic requires prayer and action. Today is a good time to commit to the actions that will support your desires for the future. Revel in your senses. At the New Moon, I crafted a mantra for gratitude: Be still. Behold. Be overfilled. Be thankful. Can you feel the your vessel spilling over?

Moon enters Libra 1:20 pm CDT
May 6—Gibbous Moon: Budding. When I look at the gibbous Moon, I see a pregnant belly. That’s how this phase feels, too. We are on the verge of giving birth to the Taurus seeds planted at the New Moon. How does it feel to hold those dreams for a little while longer? The Taurus season is overfilled with beauty, making it easy to be grateful for the gifts the Earth bestows. This fixed earth sign invites us to be fully embodied. Our senses become a pathway to reclaiming our animal selves. Our animal selves know secrets that humans have forgotten. This is fertile territory. And we need this felt connection to the living world. Like that pregnant belly, getting bigger every day, take in more of Earth’s wisdom. May it sustain us through the rest of the year.

The Moon in Libra encourages partnerships. Imagine partnerships with the Earth too. As Venus in Aries opposes this Moon, we also experience the desire to remain true to ourselves. The balancing point between self and other is a dance of give and take. Since Venus is back in this position after a retrograde journey, perhaps we can be wiser about doing this dance.

Moon in Libra
Sunday, May 7.
 The Moon in Libra makes a trine to Mars in Gemini and conjoins Jupiter. We overflow with social connections. Jupiter has been at the apex of a yod aspect pattern for the last week. With the Moon as trigger, perhaps we really feel it today. This pattern involves two quincunx aspects, one between Jupiter and the Sun in Taurus and the other between Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. This feels like idealism with an edge. It would be nice if we could forget the injustices of the world for a moment and look at everything with rose-colored glasses, but unfortunately we just can’t go back to that state of naivety after seeing what we’ve seen. A strong sense of justice motivates us to act for what is right.

Moon in Libra
Monday, May 8.
Things get real today. The Moon in Libra squares Pluto in Capricorn and opposes the conjunction of Mercury and Uranus in Aries. The real might even get explosive. These are transits to trigger release of energy. This release could feel liberating or disruptive. Injustices, large and small, are hard to tolerate. Tomorrow, Mercury and Uranus come together in an exact conjunction. Today, we notice the impact. Mercury and Uranus bring sudden insight, breakthroughs, and unexpected communications. Be ready to receive a jolt from the blue.

Moon enters Scorpio 12:00 am CDT
Tuesday, May 9.
The Full Moon occurs tomorrow, but it might feel delicious to slip into Scorpio waters today when the Moon shifts into this sign. If undercurrents weren’t addressed over the last two days of Libra Moon triggers, then the Moon in Scorpio will dig a little deeper to help us purge unnecessary tensions. Welcome the deep waters of transformation. This process is part of the Taurus season too. Mercury and Uranus continue to send jolts of electricity through the day. Release your stress before you take it out on someone else. It is OK to need time alone. Scorpio Moons bring that out in us. The trine between the Sun in Taurus and Pluto in Capricorn affirm that we need to go deep to stay solid.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Follow the Moon: April 11, 2017 - April 25

Moon enters Scorpio 5:41 pm CDT
April 11—Full Moon in Libra: Blossoming.
This lunation I am noticing my awakenings. Aries seeds were planted on March 27 at the New Moon. This first sign of the zodiac is about coming out of sleep to leap back into life. I find myself, halfway through the lunar cycle, with a desire to think about awakening in a new way. That is what I love about following an intention through the Moon cycle—this opportunity to dig deeper into an inquiry, to uproot some of my compulsions, and to dismantle some of my assumptions. Each phase of the Moon has me looking again at my focus and reflecting on how it fits into the moment. How might I change my perspective and realize something new?

Digging deeper into the intention of awakening, my path took me into Buddhist teachings about ego’s relationship to spiritual awakening. I found this piece to be very illuminating:

“According to the Buddhist tradition, the spiritual path is the process of cutting through our confusion, of uncovering the awakened state of mind. When the awakened state of mind is crowded in by ego and its attendant paranoia, it takes on the character of an underlying instinct. So it is not a matter of building up the awakened state of mind, but rather of burning out the confusions which obstruct it. In the process of burning out these confusions, we discover enlightenment. If the process were otherwise, the awakened state of mind would be a product, dependent upon cause and effect and therefore liable to dissolution.” – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s forward to Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa.

If ego’s function is “to maintain the sense of a solid, continuous self” (Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche), then the question becomes what is the conflict between identity (Self) and waking? Why would the Self resist waking up? What feels threatening to the ego? What are the benefits of waking, anyway?
I know that a solid sense of self is useful. A healthy ego is necessary. Yet, there are limitations, too, when we isolate in Self alone. It seems to me that this isolation has created a lot of the problems we currently face. Ego-defended isolation means I am not in relationship. When I am not in relationship, I lose touch with the things that make life beautiful and sacred— the relationships between all beings, both visible and invisible. Such relationships keep egos in check and make the possibility of waking a perpetual dance of interaction with others.

Such relationships can be scary. Needing others feels vulnerable. Letting my ego defense down exposes me to change. That solid sense of self that feels so safe suddenly is threatened by another giving me feedback or asking me to be different than I am. Yet, without such vulnerability, I cannot be fully awake in this life. This is the paradox and possibility of the Full Moon in Libra, which occurs on April 11.

Libra is about Relationship in equal proportion to how much Aries is about Self. These signs oppose each other and create a challenge for us. How do we balance self and other? How do we wake from isolation into relationship? These questions are potent right now, not just because the Sun and Moon occupy Aries and Libra. Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra have ratcheted up the tension quite a bit since coming into opposition in December 2016. This Full Moon could feel like a culmination of the lessons we are learning about waking up to and in relationship. And it could be dramatic. The Sun, Uranus, and Eris conjoin in Aries the week after the Full Moon. Eris is a dwarf planet located on the distant edges of our solar system. The discovery of Eris in 2005 led to the reclassification of Pluto to dwarf planet status. In myth, Eris is the goddess of strife and discord. The dwarf planet, Eris, is aptly named. Pluto’s declassification caused a bit of discord when Eris came on the scene. This week we will notice more discord. Make no mistake, awakenings may feel very uncomfortable right now. Jupiter in Libra opposes Sun, Uranus, and Eris. Jupiter makes the choice to let down our ego defenses a little more palatable. Jupiter in Libra encourages the risk of needing others. Pluto in Capricorn squares this opposition between self and others, adding the potential for powerful and deep transformation, the kind of transformation that changes everything.
Spring weather can be tempermental, one moment calm and serene, the next moment a storm is blowing through. Transits for the week of the Full Moon feel like that too. On the calm and serene front, Mars in Taurus aims for stability, but makes a quincunx to the Moon in Libra in the Full Moon chart. Not everything is under control. Retrograding Venus has returned to peace-loving Pisces from a tempestuous foray into Aries. Venus stations direct on April 15 and will re-enter Aries on April 29, giving us another opportunity to awaken to vulnerable relationship.

The last week of this lunar cycle feels more muscular, with earthy energies being emphasized. The Sun in Aries trines Saturn in Sagittarius helping us to anchor to our intentions. The Sun enters fixed earth Taurus on April 19, and though a week remains in the Aries lunar cycle, we begin to settle a bit. Much of the anxiety of spring emergence is over. Now, we tend the gardens. Pluto will be stationing retrograde on April 20, which always feels to me like the Earth reasserting life force power. We are small in relation to the Earth and we are reminded of it.

Forecast for April 12—April 25
Moon In Scorpio
Wednesday, April 12.
Scorpio has a reputation for being ruthless. This reputation is only partly deserved, but today we might see why Scorpio occasionally needs to use stinger and claws. The Moon in Scorpio has us feeling ready to strike out in defense. The Sun in Aries conjoins the dwarf planet Eris, goddess of discord, today. Uranus, the planet of awakening, is nearby, only one degree away. Aries can be pretty defensive too. Mars rules both Aries and Scorpio. The day starts with the Moon opposing newly retrograde Mercury in Taurus. Communication is problematic. Add to this a less than peaceful influence from Sun, Uranus and Eris, it may be best to reflect on why we feel so defensive and whether we can soften hard ego stances that keep us from trusting others.

Moon in Scorpio
Thursday, April 13.
Unsettled spring energy disturbs complacency and the ways we may be sleepwalking through life. Just after midnight tonight, the Sun in Aries conjoins Uranus. Earlier, the Moon in Scorpio opposes Mars in Taurus. What if we welcomed experiences that ask us to question our defended sense of self? What if were willing to let old constructs crumble, much like the image in the Tarot of the Tower being struck by lightening? Lightening may strike today. The Tarot teaches us that only after unhealthy structures are allowed to fall can we experience the integration and wholeness offered in the following card, The Star. Not everything is lost in the transformation. What remains are the building blocks of better relationships. As the Moon trines stationary Venus in Pisces, we may learn important ways to strengthen our relationship when we use empathy to make connections.

Moon enters Sagittarius 5:27 am CDT
Friday, April 14.
Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves. Notice how that may be true for you right now. Uranus and the Sun conjoin in Aries. Mercury is retrograding through Taurus heading back to Aries. Venus is stationing direct in Pisces heading back to Aries. Does it seem like everything is trying to tell you something about waking up? Does it seem like everything is trying to get you to see the ways your ego may be keeping you from that awakening? We might be craving stability and not finding it in too many places. Or, under the influence of the Sagittarius Moon, we might feel that hitting the road is the best way to find some kind of normal. We can’t run from ourselves. All this emphasis on Aries must be telling us that at the very least. Ride the waves of change. Be the change you wish to see.

Moon in Sagittarius
April 15—Disseminating Moon: Fruiting. Did something grow from the seeds you planted in the New Moon soil of Aries (March 27)? What happened during this cycle of awakening? What were the struggles? What are the gifts? Given the rambunctious nature of this lunar cycle, these gifts were probably unexpected and most likely a mixed bag. I’ve learned it isn’t easy to wake up. What feels like a joyful desire to shed winter’s drudgery can actually be scary and confusing. I’ve also learned about ego resistance to becoming truly awake. It has felt to me like flying without a net. Aries energy is much like the Fool’s in Tarot. The Fool is often depicted as someone about to take their next step off a cliff, totally unaware that it is about to happen. Is this awakening or a result of being asleep? Whichever, it seems that life conspires to push us further, willingly or not. What are you noticing?
The Sagittarius Moon invites the Fool’s adventure. Both Aries and Sagittarius are fire signs. Both lead to discovery of Self. Venus stations direct today after turning retrograde in Aries on March 4. This planet of relationship has been challenging the notion of selfhood. Venus, which usually helps us to moderate our tempers, has displayed much less impulse control while retrograding through Aries. Today, Venus stands again in Pisces, readying to reenter Aries on April 29. How will we commit to a better balance between Self and Other?

Moon enters Capricorn 6:04 pm CDT
Sunday, April 16.
This is a good day to pause and take stock of where you are now after a very active and stimulating week. Maybe there was so much stimulation that you needed to shut down. That happens. Chiron, the Wounded Healer, is influential today. Yesterday, Venus in Pisces stationed direct a few minutes from an exact conjunction with Chiron in Pisces. Mars in Taurus makes a sextile aspect to both Chiron and Venus. The pausing moment asks us to look at our fragility. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. But there is something we can learn about habitual states of fragility. Those don’t help either. I am thinking of this recent Venus retrograde as an opportunity to scrub clean some unproductive assumptions about getting along with others. There are times to stand up for yourself and times you need to step aside. Have you learned this discernment over the past month? Mars in Taurus provides a steady ground to stand on as we as we consider these lessons.

Moon in Capricorn
Monday, April 17.
If fire makes the engine go then earth provides the brakes. Earth emphasis today helps us slow down. Not everything can be solved, initiated, or dealt with immediately. Notice the way that earth helps you reconsider rash moves and provides good boundaries for processes moving way to fast. The Sun in Aries is trine to Saturn in Sagittarius. Though both of these signs are fire, the action of the trine between the Sun and Saturn feels earthy. Mars in Taurus, which is an earth sign, asks Saturn to act more Saturnian, which means determined and focused. The Capricorn Moon, ruled by Saturn, values integrity. Following through on commitments feels good. Venus in Pisces is moving slowly after stationing direct two days ago. This slow moving Venus is building to an exact square to Saturn on April 21. Lessons learned about relationship begin to form new commitments. The process isn’t easy. Be patient.

Moon in Capricorn
Tuesday, April 18.
If the Moon is in a cardinal sign (it is) then it must be time to reactivate the querulous planets: Uranus in Aries opposing Jupiter in Libra, with both forming a square to Pluto in Capricorn. This t-square pattern is moving off of exactitude but the Moon helps remind us of the tensions below the surface of daily life. Issues of change, justice, and power collide again. They may be colliding but perhaps they are also reminding us that we can’t rest while so much is at stake. What helps you sustain the effort?

Moon enters Aquarius 5:52 am CDT
April 19—Last Quarter Moon: Re-seeding. Sun enters Taurus. The last week of the Aries lunar cycle begins just as the Sun enters Taurus. The flavor of this cycle has just changed, but not by much. Aries is bubbling under the calm surface of grounded Taurus. Later this month when Mercury and Venus re-enter Aries, we will feel again that surge to awake and act. Now, however, we are in the mood to evaluate our experiences of the last three weeks. Sometimes we can’t take back our actions. Perhaps you’ve wanted to. Aries often acts first and thinks second. This can lead to regrets. Do you have any? Though we may not be able to take back such actions, we can learn from them. My own regrets led me to explore the relationship between ego and awakening. Buddhist teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, writes that “it is not a matter of building up the awakened state of mind, but rather of burning out the confusions which obstruct it.” Mistakes can be the catalyst to burn away unnecessary obstructions to relationship. Perhaps I have learned I do not need the ego defenses that keep me isolated.

We are learning, even if we have a hard time expressing it. The Moon in Aquarius makes a challenging square to retrograde Mercury in Taurus. The Aquarius influence increases the speed of thought. The Taurus influence asks us to slow it all down. Don’t trip over yourself trying to get your message across. Everything in the mercurial realms: electricity, travel, communications, commerce do not behave as they should.

Moon in Aquarius
Thursday, April 20.
The inferior conjunction—the moment retrograding Mercury conjoins the Sun—is the heart of the Mercury retrograde cycle. That happens today at zero degrees Taurus. Taurus appreciates the basics. Perhaps we can simplify the way we think, the words we use, our means of getting where we want to go. Perhaps, we can re-evaluate today the ways our thoughts impact our everyday lives. Slowing down is suggested. That way, we can better appreciate the reverberations of Pluto turning retrograde today. As ruler of the underworld, Pluto impacts the deeper realms of Earth. Notice the Earth. Spend time listening. You just may hear the Earth’s soul speaking to you.

Moon enters Pisces 2:42 pm CDT
Friday, April 21.
The Sun and retrograding Mercury have passed each other like two ships in the night. Now, the Sun moves deeper into Taurus and Mercury moves back into Aries. The Aries lunar cycle is winding down. Retrograding Mercury invites us to open in a different way to the intention of awakening. Open your senses. Expect to get messages. There’s another helper with messaging. Mars has entered the mercurial sign of Gemini. How many ways can we communicate? How can we awaken curiosity? How might this change our perspective? Another significant influence is Venus in Pisces (still retrograde) forming a square to Saturn in Sagittarius. All week, these two have been in dialog about mutual supports, the necessity to rely on each other, even when we don’t know how. There is pressure to make our relationships more meaningful. Ironically, this may leave us forgetting how to be social. As sensitivity increases under the Pisces Moon, focus on the quality of your relationships and cull the ones that don’t feel right to you.

Moon in Pisces
April 22—Balsamic Moon: Composting. The end of a journey can feel like the beginning. Coming to the final phase of this lunar cycle planted with the Aries seeds of awakening, we might wonder if we’ve even been anywhere at all. I’ve noticed that the intention of awakening started with a desire to bring new light to self-reflection, went off in the direction of spiritual awakenings, and now comes back to the question: What is waking? What does it mean to wake up? What is waking in me right now? What is waking in us? The Moon in Pisces invites surrender. This may even feel like relaxing vigilance. Perhaps waking happens naturally. We don’t have to force it. It doesn’t take effort. I want to notice what is waking in the Earth right now. What do creatures show me about waking? Waking is relationship. When the Sun reaches a certain latitude, buds know to emerge. When the rain comes, grass begins to green. When insects start to hatch, birds know to show up. My waking depends on so many seen and unseen things. As I acknowledge the interconnections, I honor the mysteries of mutual awakenings.

Transits are relatively quiet today. Go outside. Notice what is waking.

Moon enters Aries 7:32 pm CDT
Sunday, April 23.
Before moving into Aries tonight, the Moon in Pisces visits Chiron and Venus in Pisces. Saturn in Sagittarius looms in the corner making sure we don’t enjoy ourselves too much. Pisces influence creates identification with the suffering of all beings. Saturn influence says we must do something about it, or perhaps we feel overwhelmed by not being able to do anything about it. Take one step at a time. It is beautiful that we feel so much.

Moon in Aries
Monday, April 24.
We’ve got something to go over again today. Retrograding Mercury in Aries forms a trine to Saturn in Sagittarius. These two made the same contact on March 29 when Mercury was moving direct. After Mercury stations direct, it comes back for one last chat with Saturn (May 11). We are honing our communication skills. Think of today as the second draft of an important letter. What do you really want to say? Aries fire might make it hard to slow down enough to consider our second thoughts. Notice that.

Moon enters Taurus 8:56 pm CDT
Tuesday, April 25.
On the last day of the Aries lunar cycle, the Moon returns to meet Uranus in Aries once again. This time, retrograde Mercury is there too. What have we learned about awakening? Sometimes the lightening does it for us. Today might be one of those days. Be careful with communication and travel. Yesterday, perhaps you practiced having second thoughts. It might be good to remember how to slow down the speed of yours. If you are feeling brave, or foolish, you might want to ride the wild ride of this day into unexpected circumstances. Who knows, it could be delightful.

To read about the beginning of the Aries lunar cycle
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