by Joan Kiley
We think of May as the month of beauty, well into spring blooming season, but not yet with the heat of summer. There are many traditional May celebrations, most of them related to the Mother archetype, no doubt due to the obvious fertility of the earth. We have proms and graduations and Mother’s Day, lots of family gatherings, all of which make great use of the abundant floral displays available. This year, we have been going through the motions, participating in the traditions, yet not quite “feeling it.” There’s a kind of exhaustion manifesting, despite the vibrancy of the season.
The astrology of May 2016 is idiosyncratic of the norm. Yes, the Sun is in Taurus, as usual, and this year we have the ruler of Taurus, Venus, there as well, plus Mercury. However, we have five planets retrograde at this time—Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto! With all the Taurus energy, which in itself has a slow vibration, and five retrograde planets, the Universe is saying, “Slow down. Stop the frenzy. Take a good look around and within you. Do not keep speeding down the road in the same way you have been moving.” When planets are retrograde, their influence often appears to intensify. After all, they are closer to the earth than when they are direct. This is especially true of the personal, faster moving planets, Mercury, Venus and Mars. And two of those three are now retrograde.
May was ushered in by several notable configurations that have been, and will continue to, play important roles in the astrology of this season. The first is a strong Earth Grand Trine between the Sun in Taurus, Jupiter in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn. We must keep our feet on the ground and our focus on staying practical, while being willing to change what is not working for us, and the world, no matter how challenging it feels. The first days of the month we may feel encouraged in the ability to do what is in front of us, as Venus and Mercury joined the Sun in Taurus. Venus was holding court in her own sign, and easing the way for Sun and Mercury business. Mercury, however, was/is retrograde, so there may also be discouraging hit-or-miss communications, glitches with our electronic devices, or travel complications. Venus will be in Taurus most of the month, so even when complications arise, there may be a bright side to making the fixes.
The second important configuration is the mutable T-square between Jupiter in Virgo, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Sagittarius. Here we are working with belief systems. This T-square has been in play for a number of months, so we continue our work. The Jupiter/Saturn square will make an exact hit later in the month. This work is deep, it is critical, and it takes courage. Something we have been conditioned to believe, or a way of behaving that we are used to having in our repertoire, is now getting in the way of our evolution. Saturn will either prompt us to face it, change it, and move on, OR bring up denial, fear, and irrational justifications for not changing. Jupiter wants us to expand, evolve, stretch our selves to be more and better. However, when faced with Saturn’s power to resist, it can also waver, especially with the Neptune factor. We may put off the change via illusion, delusion, fantasy. “Oh, I can make this old way work!” or “Look, I don’t need to change. It’s someone else (or the world) who needs to change.”
The retrograde planets are making a big contribution to the changes we need to make. We may feel inconvenienced by the slowdowns, or the inability to just push through our personal agendas, but try to remember that glitches and snags can often be for our benefit, yes, even the fits of frustrating anger triggered by Mars! These retrograde times provide opportunity for stepping back and reassessing what it is we’re doing, what it is we really want, where we are going, and with Pluto retrograde, how to best use our power to get the optimal accomplished.
A New Moon in Taurus occurred on Saturday, May 6 at 12:29 PM PDT with the Sun/Moon duo at 16 degrees 41 minutes Taurus, solidly trine Pluto in Capricorn, but also trine Jupiter. This was very strong earth energy, given Mercury was conjunct the New Moon in Taurus, and Venus was still solidly holding her throne there. Know that your New Moon visioning, of what it is you would most like to manifest in this Moon cycle, is being held on a solid earth foundation. With so many planets retrograde, we need to be clear on what we most need to release, and the willingness to release it. You may feel like it takes a while to gain traction, but take it one step at a time. You were planting seeds of what you want to happen into a fertile soil. Utilize that trine to Jupiter and have faith. Utilize the trine with Pluto and know you can count on your personal power to see you through. Venus was also in a strong sextile with Neptune at the New Moon.
Our planet Jupiter, so critical a member of both the earth Grand Trine, and the mutable T-square we talked about earlier, is slowing at the time of the New Moon. On May 9, at 5:15 AM PDT, it stations direct, at 13 degrees 15 minutes Virgo. It has been retrograde since January 8.
A mere three hours later, Mercury retrograde exactly conjuncts the Sun, signaling the peak of the Mercury retrograde period. This is no ordinary conjunction. It is, in astronomical terms, a transit of Mercury across the Sun, which takes place when Mercury comes between the Sun and the Earth. If we were to view the transit, Mercury would be seen as a small black dot moving across the face of the Sun. These transits of Mercury occur in May or November. The last three transits occurred in 1999, 2003, and 2006. The next will occur on November 11, 2019, and then not again until November 13, 2032. There are about 13 or 14 per century! This year, on that moment, the Sun/Mercury duo are trine the North Node and sextile the South Node, providing us more fuel for moving toward the world we want to create by leaving behind anything that might be holding us back.
On May 10, Venus and Jupiter form a sweet trine, while both in sextile to the Moon in Cancer. If you’ve been waiting for a day to relax and experience some ease, try this one on for size. There could be a little rumbling in the depths as the Cancer Moon opposes Pluto, but rather than allowing any power struggles to happen, let the depth deepen your own willingness to flow with pleasure, rather than pain.
On May 13, Venus conjuncts Mercury, and both trine Pluto. Take care with your communications on that day. There is potential for excellent evaluations, negotiations, and forward movement, but be sure you are listening carefully and getting clear on what others have to say, rather than making assumptions. The Moon in Virgo squares Mars in Sagittarius on May 14, making it a good day to go outdoors and release any excess energy that might have built up in the body with all the earth energy and retrograde confusion.
The energy of May will begin to change powerfully on May 20, when the Sun shifts from the fixed earth sign of Taurus into the mutable air sign Gemini at 7:37 AM PDT. The next day, we have a Full Moon in Sagittarius at 2:15 PM PDT, with the Moon conjunct retrograde Mars! The Sun’s opposition to Mars is an indicator of the mid-point of Mars’ retrograde cycle. It also means that Mars, the red planet, will be most visible in the sky. On the evening of the Full Moon sky-watchers can see the Moon and Mars rise together for what should be a beautiful, if not romantic, night sky!
Mercury is slowing by the time of the Full Moon, and at 6:20 AM PDT on May 22, it stations direct at 14 degrees 20 minutes Taurus. Mercury will remain in its shadow through the first week of June, meaning that some of the attributes of the retrogradation will still be active. Nevertheless, with it now direct, and being the ruler of Gemini where the Sun lies, and soon Venus, our mental capacities will be speeding up from the slower pace of the retrograde period.
The final week of the month is very busy! First of all, Venus shifts out of her own sign of Taurus and into Gemini at 2:54 AM PDT on May 24, adding to the revving of our mental motors. Then she, as well as the Sun, will be opposing retrograde Mars in early Sagittarius. This has definite implications for relationships. Gemini has a tendency to overthink and overtalk its overthinking, so try to keep that in mind when Mars gets feisty! Try to remember those beliefs and behaviors you are ready to release, and stay as calm as possible when/if offense is taken by un-careful blurting out of whatever comes into your head (or someone else’s)!
The second event brings Saturn and Jupiter to the stage. They make a final exact square on May 25. This has been building while both were retrograde. Now that Jupiter is moving forward, and moves faster than Saturn, this is the beginning of the end of their square relationship, and the crisis between faith in the future and fear of letting go of the past. Hopefully, we have moved to a place where we can see the value of our own evolution, and the changes taking place. We cannot ignore the role of Neptune, just a degree away from exactly opposing Jupiter and squaring Saturn. This raises the vibration to be more compassionate. By the end of the month, the Sun will be involved to form a mutable Grand Square, signaling quickness, and more willingness to make changes as needed.
The third event in the week will be Mars retrograding back into Scorpio for the final weeks of its retrograde period (it stations direct on June 29). This occurs at 6:54 AM PDT on May 27, just in time to add a little more depth to your Memorial Day weekend! Mars in Scorpio may be a bit less cooperative than Mars in Sagittarius, and more introverted, but the increased level of intensity may, in fact, be just what is needed to get a job done. Mars is more at home in this sign that it rules, and can be far more focused and strategic than when in Sagittarius.
Keep breathing deeply. We’ll all get through these times together!