* The mood of the month ahead is rooted in the upcoming conjunction of the south node of the moon (Ketu) with Saturn in the sign of Capricorn (taking place all month long). This austere transit points toward diminishment, limitation or restriction, the setting of hard or firm boundaries, our relationship to authority (whether within or without), and detachment from whatever is frivolous or unnecessary.
* Remember, that while the south node may bring diminishment and constriction, hard times build character. It may be something that you once heard your grandparents saying or even an obnoxious gym coach, but it's true. Actually, most days are Saturnine, and most days for a huge majority of the population of the world, are all about coping with the inherent difficulties of life. To be alive for most species, in fact, is to be engaged in a struggle for existence. The main thing that shifts whether we struggle with the struggle or build spiritual character has to do with the ability we have to seek higher knowledge, to cultivate healthy detachment, and to develop a higher taste. Although Saturn and the south node can deliver a karmic bill that is limiting or depressing us in the month ahead, it may also bring exactly what we need to start inquiring about higher truth, or to rid ourselves of whatever we are clinging to that is actually frivolous or unnecessary so that we might cultivate a higher taste.
* The New Moon in Aries on April 5th, and then the subsequent squares from the Sun to Saturn and Pluto between the 10th and 13th, point to the desire to set a very strong intention in the weeks ahead, perhaps too strong, or too militant, structured or disciplined. With Mars, the ruler of the New Moon, entering mental Gemini, and with the Sun moving into a trine with Jupiter in Sagittarius, whatever intentions we are setting, we are likely to feel the need to argue, debate, fight, or assert ourselves verbally and mentally about it.
* In the Book of Changes, the I Ching, the 37th hexagram is called "Family Duties," and it has both a Cancer and Capricorn feeling to it. The hexagram expresses the need to create the right mood or feeling of security while also extolling the virtues of strong discipline, structures, and habits in order to keep a family together. Of course, for the ancient Chinese, the "family," was also a metaphor for the state or society itself.
* However, the third line of the hexagram tells the story of a man (or structure enforcer) who is too strong, or too firm, and because of this his family grows to resent him, or he hurts someone or does something that leads to regret. However, the line also talks about the rest of his family laughing and joking too often or at the wrong times, which is part of what leads to him being overly stern and rigid. Hence, the overall message is that to avoid the extremes of being too loosey-goosey or too strict (when trying to keep something together), we should adopt the golden mean of moderation. Everyone should know their part and try to do their best at helping to keep both ease and firmness at once.
* We see the same virtue or teaching coming from the Full Moon in Libra, which falls on April 19th and emphasizes the need for diplomacy, fairness, harmony, beauty, and ease. We CAN do things with ease and grace this month, even if the overwhelming emphasis of Saturn and the South Node in Capricorn, along with the New Moon in Aries, and Mars in Gemini opposite Jupiter in Sagittarius, has us feeling like we are on the warpath, or that we need to sober up, sit up straight, and swiftly eliminate all the noise or nonsense as quickly as possible. We can still do these things with an eye for beauty and balance, and with care for others.
* When the 3rd line of hexagram 37 changes, it creates hexagram 42, called "Expansion or Increase." The hexagram discusses, among other things, the way to improve one's current situation in life. It tells us that we should emulate the way of saintly people, and it also tells us that if we want the loyalty or devotion of others that we should act in a way that increases their spiritual happiness and joy. We should be generous, and then, whatever changes we are trying to create will be less of a struggle for us to implement. With a little planning and mindfulness, we can avoid being the family members who laugh or play at all the wrong times, as well as the white-knuckled father trying to hold it together too tightly.
* The other major transits happening this month include the continued conjunction of Mercury with Neptune in Pisces (April 2nd), the conjunction of Venus with Neptune (April 10th), and the squares of Mercury and Venus to Jupiter in Sagittarius (between the 12th and 15th). These transits may bring beneficial friendships, romantic liaisons, teachers, and learning experiences, but they may also indicate grandiose or irrational thinking, an aura of romantic and sensual indulgence, and the potential for opportunism, popularity-seeking, or emotional and mental manipulation for the sake of personal gain.
* Between April 20th and 23rd, the Sun will enter Taurus and conjoin Uranus, just after the Full Moon in Libra, providing a moment of insight, illumination, breakthrough, and brilliance. In the Venus-ruled sign of Taurus, expect the need for greater harmony and beauty to act as a strong and even defiant counterpoint to the month's earlier severities.
* Finally, between the 26th and 27th, Mars in Gemini will square Neptune in Pisces, bringing holy wars and visionary crusades, the heroic calling to sacrifice or even die for a cause, as well as the potential for aggressive or martial actions fueled by fantasies. While the potential to join a cause or to recruit others to a cause may be helpful during this period, we will have to be careful that we are not tilting at windmills.
* Like all months, the cosmic clock will turn and turn, and all of these things will come to pass, both in the ways we expect and in ways that we cannot yet imagine, both in the ways the astrologers predict and in those the astrologers can't possibly predict. But returning to the Saturn/South Node conjunction, we should remember to ask this question, "Am I using this human life to seek out my source? Am I asking the right questions? Am I cultivating healthy detachment from those things that only make me suffer endlessly? Am I cultivating a higher taste?"
Prayer: Build our eternal characters, and give us the power of a fresh start. Please bless us with the best habits and routines to keep our lives focused on you. But mostly, give us a desire for your wisdom and love, so that whatever we start, whatever we build and however we hold things together, it might be filled with the incomparable taste of your sweetness.