The Moon is just past its first quarter, Mercury is moving closer to its final square to Saturn, the Sun is moving into a trine with Saturn, and Mars is moving into a conjunction with Pluto by Thursday.
* The ride up to the full Moon is going to be toned by the Mercury/Saturn square, along with the Mars/Pluto conjunction. These two transits alongside the waxing Moon both point to dynamic levels of pressure at work, both personally and collectively.
* As Pluto is also turning retrograde right now we are seeing a shift or change in momentum taking place. Normally, Pluto's turns take so long that they aren't nearly as perceptible as this one is likely to be, and that is because just as Pluto is turning retrograde this week it will be triggered by the conjunction with the much faster and exalted Mars in Capricorn.
* For example, the most recent time that Mars conjoined Pluto just as Pluto was turning retrograde, it was March of 2001, and the Taliban had just taken tanks, missiles, and explosives to destroy statues of the Buddha that were carved into the face of a rock in the Bamyan valley of Afghanistan. On the day that Mars and Pluto conjoined the New York Times ran a story about the destruction of the statues, exploring the motivations of the Taliban, who had publicly stated that they decided to destroy the statues in response to the denial of foreign aid for starving children. When the foreign aid was offered only for the restoration of the statues, a cultural heritage project, the Taliban decided to destroy the statues. However, the Taliban did not comment on the fact that there was also an offer to purchase the statues, the money from which could have been used to aid the cause of the children. This event has been considered by scholars and commentators on the "war on terror" to be a critical turning point in the Taliban's history, one that was directly related to an increased level of aggression toward other public monuments or religious/cultural monuments. Mars then went retrograde (as it will do again this summer in the sign of Aquarius), and came back into close proximity with Pluto leading up to the September 11th attacks.
* I don't use this example to raise the alarm. I'm not trying to make any predictions about what will happen, either. But it's a very good example of a recurring planetary pattern and how momentum shifts with Pluto, being triggered by Mars, can show up in the collective.
* Notice how the conjunction of Mars to Pluto showed up as detonation, violence towards sacred things, sacrilegious or taboo topics, and a change of momentum or a turn of plot triggered by intense, cutting, confrontational events?
* Notice how the event reflected a serious and very public turn, an omen, if you will, of things to come? We should watch very carefully as the rest of this moon cycle unfolds. When Mars and Pluto conjoin this week, we may notice that explosive or pivotal events are taking place that reflect a larger plot turn in our lives. This turn will play out very powerfully over the summer months as Mars moves through a long retrograde in close conjunction with the South node and square to Uranus.
* Remember that if you look at the big picture of your life, some events, while big and important in their own right, are really signals of larger/longer changes taking place. It's a very good time to remember the forest for the trees, as Mars/Pluto has a tendency to push our "react/react/react" buttons!
Prayer: Give us faith. Give us trust. Remind us that nothing eternal can be destroyed. Remind us that we are eternal and everything of ultimate value is eternal. Give us the audacious courage needed to accept all of the circumstances of our lives.
The Moon is moving through oppositions to both Mars and Pluto today. Meanwhile, Mercury is moving into another square with Saturn and doing so in close proximity to Chiron, who has recently entered Aries after spending seven years in Pisces.
Here's what to watch for:
* Issues surrounding subordination, power structures, and also family dynamics. Who should surrender their position, who should lead, and how do our egos get involved in both the acts of submission and surrender as well as leadership or responsibility?
* The 54th hexagram of the I Ching is sometimes called "A Loveless Marriage," or "The Marrying Maiden," and it basically depicts a situation where a woman in ancient China was becoming a "second" wife. She was advised not to jockey or compete for the first wive's position or power within the family. Instead, vis a vis the 54th hexagram, "she" was told to find her role in a supporting position. For us, this is all pretty sexist sounding, but the mood of the 54th hexagram is referring more generally to finding ourselves in ANY situation where the correct action is to be submissive, humble, or service-oriented rather than competitive, selfish, or goal-oriented.
* In work, in marriage or relationships, in the family, in groups of friends, in social situations, we often fall into familiar roles. We become the peace-maker, or we become the responsible one, or the organizer, or the caretaker, or the nurturer, the sage, or the dominant voice, or the comedian, etc. With the Moon opposite Mars and Pluto today, the 54th hexagram tells us to find the natural low point, in the same way that water runs downhill and finds the low places where it can pool together.
* In other words, be careful of power struggles. Of who cares more within groups of people. Of who can do it the best. Of whose needs are superior. Of who is more qualified. Of passive aggression, toxic words, thoughts, and actions in the name of some goal or some sense of righteousness, tradition, etc.
* At the same time, the Moon opposing Mars and Pluto is a great transit for cleansing, removing, purging, and healing. For example, today we are Spring cleaning!
* Within families, groups, or social/professional circles, be careful of getting involved in power struggles, BUT don't be a doormat, either.
* Issues surrounding women, women's health, children, families and family karma are strong today with the Moon in Cancer opposing the heaviness of Mars and Pluto. Remember, the grace given is the grace received, and kindness given is kindness received.
* Meanwhile, Chiron has recently entered Aries where it will stay for many years to come. I am not personally a big Chiron guy, even though I was born with Chiron conjunct my ascendant! I will say just a few things since some of you have been asking me to speak to this transit. Chiron points to our wounds as well as the wisdom of the wound. Most astrologers agree on these two points. So what does it mean that this "wounded healer," has just entered Aries, the masculine/fire sign of Mars? Well, first and foremost it provides us all with an opportunity to visit the personal and collective wounds we have around temper, agitation, anger, reactivity, hostility, weapons, violence, selfishness and combativeness, and fear. In this post-modern reality, individuality and group/mindedness are often conflated. So we think of personal liberty/dignity in association with the groups, cultures, or sub-cultures we identify with, and we often value protection, defense, or advocacy of our group identities, values, or agendas, as the single most important thing. This, of course, tends to promote competition between the groups who see themselves as either the most marginalized or the most deserving of all the power, wealth, money, etc. These dynamics are natural and ancient...with us from time immemorial. The competition between various groups is about to become more heated, providing us with an opportunity for some very deep healing. For example, when Chiron last entered Aries in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed, and not long after him Robert Kennedy. The civil rights act of 1968 was signed, and there were waves of very powerful anti-war protests. It was 1968! There was no shortage of powerful forces operating as the wounded healer entered Mars' fiery abode.
* Personally, with Mercury in Aries square to Saturn, and Chiron having just entered Aries, I have been personally called to work on critical/harsh thoughts and speech. If you'd like to join me, check out the Mercury/Saturn wristband challenge video I made yesterday. It's in the comments section of this post.
Here are five things to remember about the dangers of critical speech:
1. We're actually capable of super intelligent, thoughtful, and heartfelt thinking and speaking at once. Sometimes we think that to stop being critical means to stop thinking or to stop advocating for justice or truth, but we should remember that mystics for thousands upon thousands of years have told us that the heart and the mind can be yoked together and work as one. We are capable of being intelligent, passionate, and kind thinkers and speakers at once.
2. When we stop criticizing situations, people, and ourselves, we slowly learn to see things as they are...multi-dimensional, divine, and eternal. It is harder to be like this. It requires more intelligence to join our hearts and our minds together, not less.
3. As we learn to stop criticizing we naturally learn how to see and be love. The silence or pregnant pause that fills the gap of our impulse to criticize gives us deeper and deeper observations about reality. AND it actually feels better in the mind and body. Criticism is so pointed that it cuts us and it cuts others in the process; this doesn't feel good, but we can't realize it doesn't feel good until we stop criticizing ourselves and others.
4. Criticism is pointed, and it tends to reduce complex things into overly simplified statements. The heart's intelligence emerges when we allow for complexity, and we can't do that when we're jumping to conclusions, dissecting everything, speaking too fast or judging situations or people, or ourselves, with great haste and sharpness. To speak and think from a place of love is really, really challenging at first, but in time it is literally the easiest AND smartest thing in the world. :)
5. Sometimes we think that we have to be critical of other peoples thoughts, feelings, ideas, or positions, in order for our own to be valid. It's amazing how much stronger, deeper, and happier our own thoughts, feelings, ideas, and positions become when we allow for situations or people to simply be whatever they are, without the uncontrollable desire to change them. Getting curious about things that we have the initial impulse to criticize is helpful.
Want to join the 21-day criticism challenge? Check out the video I made in the comments section below!
Prayer: Heal our tired minds. Give us thoughts and words of love. Make our words the emissaries of your peace. Teach us to find our natural position, in each situation. Give us real intelligence.
They arrived! On one side they say, "Hare Krishna!" (a yogic call to God!), and on the other, they say, "Kind Words, Clean Heart." The goal is to go 21 days without criticizing other people, or even general situations. Each time you do, you switch the band to the opposite wrist and start over. I began 13 days ago during Mercury retrograde. It took me eight days and a lot of switching before I started catching myself, and now (in fact just as Mercury was stationing to turn direct), I am learning that it feels so amazingly good to refrain from criticism. It doesn't mean I don't have critical thoughts, it doesn't mean that I lack discernment or reason, and it doesn't mean that I am sugar-coating things or trying to make things "nice." It just means that I'm learning to hold my tongue when I want to use it to strike someone or something because it makes me feel good or powerful or smart. Who knew what a bad habit criticism could be?! This, in turn, is very slowly starting to change the quality of my thoughts and observations, in general. I consider myself a "nice, spiritual guy," but I have been shocked to realize how much I criticize.
I believe...that we can learn to let "many things pass." I believe...that we can actually learn to be "slow to speak and quick to listen." Our minds can learn to trust our heart and our heart can be the means by which we think and speak. And when we do this, we are naturally reminded that.... "God is love, and God's love is intelligent and real and absolutely ready to reciprocate." We only have to know how to really speak and how to really listen. Every time I look at my band, I also try to pray, "Help me with this. Teach me how to do this. Teach me how to hear your voice. Teach me how to have soul. Teach me how to perceive. Teach me how to talk." :)
Want one? They are free! I will send you one. All you have to do is email me with your mailing address (and no, you will not get anything else in the mail from me going forward!). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sun has just entered Taurus and is now applying to a long trine with Saturn. Meanwhile, Mars is engaged with Pluto and will conjoin Pluto on April 26th, just after Mercury has finished its square with Saturn.
What to watch for:
* The Sun/Saturn trine over the next ten days or so is an incredibly productive transit, but given that it is taking place amidst a number of more dynamic/challenging transits, we have to be careful about bulldozing or steamrolling our way through things where more tact or TLC is necessary.
* The Sun and Saturn coming together in the spirit of Jupiter (trines are of the nature of Jupiter) and speaking to each other through the element of earth, matches together the practical and the beautiful, necessity and diplomacy, productivity and joy, economy or simplicity and cleanliness, wisdom and clarity with realism and work.
* As this transit builds, Mars is also gradually approaching a conjunction with Pluto. The last time Mars applied to a conjunction with Pluto it was October of 2016. The Access Hollywood Trump tapes were released, Obama detailed the plans for a manned trip to Mars, Samsung phones were blowing up, and Comey announced the FBI would be reopening its investigation into Clinton's emails. There were, of course, many other things happening all around the world, but that is a good sampling of the mood during the last Mars/Pluto conjunction.
* Mars/Pluto, in general, indicates power and the abuse of power, corruption, and scandal, intrigue and gossip, spectacles and interference, coercion and bullying, violence and subterfuge, the criminal underworld, muscle, guns and weapons, black markets, surgeries or the elimination of something toxic, blowups or blowouts, eruption, hostility and confrontation paired with depth, darkness, and eroticism.
* Mars/Pluto is also the courage necessary to face or confront an obstacle or challenge. Mars/Pluto is "forced entry," or the shadows of our past appearing with unexpected vindictiveness, revenge, or resentment.
* Mars/Pluto is also about the drive, passion, and power necessary to make a total or complete transformation. It is about the need or desire to completely pierce or penetrate to the heart of the matter and to work through fears or difficult truths along the way.
* As all of the above is happening, Mercury is also moving back through its square to Saturn (perfecting on April 25th). This square places an emphasis on communication, speech, thoughts, the mind, skill development or acquisition, mental or verbal control, pressure, or containment, as well as issues surrounding anger, stubbornness, or control in how we talk to or relate with one another. Mercury/Saturn is also about the termination of deals or agreements, or long-term commitments or the maturation of communication or mental/verbal dynamics in general.
* Given all of these planetary transits taking place over the next week, it's a very good time to grow or mature in a variety of ways, as we confront things that need to be confronted, move through obstacles, and enjoy an aura of general productivity and hard work. The major warning of this transit involves, again, steamrolling or bulldozing, demonstrating intolerance or impatience, demanding that we get our own way, being mentally or emotionally rigid, irritable and prone to conflict or a kind of Machiavellian aggression.
Prayer: Be our breakthrough. Be our maturity. Be present in our words, thoughts, and actions. Be our passion. Be alive in our hearts.
Over the next week, Mercury will be not moving more than one degree while it is in a square with Saturn who is also preparing to station and turn retrograde. Mercury will thus be in an applying square to Saturn between now and the end of the month. That's a whole lot of Mercury/Saturn to come!
Here's what to watch for:
* Mercury in Aries and Saturn in Capricorn combine fire and earth, which are incompatible elements that tend to conflict with each other. Fire is hot and dry, while earth is cold and dry. If fire is enthusiasm, then earth wants to cool and contain it. If fire is faith or certainty, vision or action, then Earth may have its doubts, may feel that fire is impractical or may seek to contain, hold, control, or make fire more "functional," potentially killing the mood or spirit of fire. On the other hand, where earth has a plan, where earth has a structure, where earth is proposing greater wisdom, rationality, or common sense, fire may be willfully defiant, rebelliously disregarding or even disrepsecting the careful and methodical processes of earth. Earth may be looking for tradition, conservation, method, and measure, while fire may wish to selfishly discard these things in favor of blazing its own trail or being willfully ignorant of something that is commonsensical. Earth may be exhausting the fire and making us sluggish, or fire may be exhausting the earth and making us feel burnt out.
* When fire and earth work together, we have passion in practical service. We have a measured but visionary response. We have method and enthusiasm in cooperation. We have maturity and strength, tradition and individuality working as one.
* It is inevitable, karmic, destined, or fated, that some of us will have to experience the clash of these symbolic/elemental dynamics in the next few weeks. How we respond to these elemental dynamics is also a matter of how we utilize our free will. We should never be so blind to think that we have no role to play in the unfolding of our lives but never so arrogant to think that we are in control of everything. Both extremes tend toward seeing ourselves and one another as impersonal and objective, rather than personal and relational.
* Among many other things, Mercury is the mind, speech, communication, highly developed skills, learning, technology, information, messages, invention, translation, and interpretation, whereas Saturn is ignorance, darkness, the maturity of age and time, death and disease, mortality, structure, discipline, loneliness or isolation, and things that are abandoned or outcast. When the two get together by square they are relating to one another through the language of Mars (ancient astrology tells us that squares are of the nature of Mars).
* The desire to control, squelch, direct, kill, extinguish, or exhaust someone's enthusiasm, speech or mind is a temptation to avoid right now. Similarly, the combination of Mercury and Saturn represents the fortification of the mind. If someone or something is trying to kill your joy or enthusiasm, if someone is trying to control you or tell you how to think, and it's not an instruction you've asked for, then you may find yourself needing to fortify and defend your mind from those invasive or domineering influences.
* On the other hand, sometimes our willfull, youthful, and rebellious nature, especially mentally or verbally, needs to be reformed. This transit may very naturally teach us to be less impulsive, self-centered, competitive, loud, fast, and furious...especially mentally or verbally. Sometimes we mistakenly think that the only way to communicate something is to do so with power, force, volume, or vigor. On the other hand, sometimes we mistakenly think that the only way to communicate something is to do so with as much control and reference to authority or structures of authority as possible. We forget how to be human; we forget how to be individuals because we worship structures of the mind rather than our various structures of the mind being employed to help us worship the divine.
* I refuse to think. I refuse to discuss issues or topics that are challenging or that require patience and careful or mature and compassionate reasoning. This is a problem. Sometimes people mistakenly think that spirituality involves ditching or not using the mind. People think that spirituality is nothing more than nice feelings, relaxation, beauty, and general kindness to others. These qualities are of course an important by-product of spiritual life, but if we refuse to think or if we refuse to consider the larger questions of life, "Why am I here?" "Am I more than my body?" "If I am an eternal spirit/soul, then how should I live?" "What does it mean to have a spiritual practice, and why should I have one at all?" Sometimes people say, "get out of your head and into your heart," forgetting that heart-centered practices, in fact, lead to heart-centered intelligence.
* We'll continue to look at this for the rest of the month!
Prayer: Mold our minds into the shape of our eternal selves, a pair of completely unique hands, pressed together in loving prayer. Make our minds a temple, free of the white noise of me and mine, and full of the flowering songs of devotion.
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Adam Elenbaas is a professional astrologer and the founder of the Nightlight Astrology School. Adam holds an MA and MFA in English and Creative Writing and is one of the founding writers at RealitySandwich. To learn more about Adam, click here.