What’s Up! by Belinda C. Dunn
Aries/Libra Full Moon – April 11 @ 2:08 am
Taurus New Moon – April 26 @ 8:16 am
Mercury Retrograde – April 9 through May 3
The planetary picture for April presents a rare combination of influences similar to having one foot on the gas pedal, and one foot on the brake. Typically, it is part of human nature to maintain control over life events. In the rush and pressure to take charge and move forward, there is a tendency to willfully force personal agendas. It is so tempting to “know” the best course of action, only to find out later, life has other plans. Truly, destiny has a life of its own, unfolding despite personal needs, wants and desires.
From the standpoint of astrology, planetary retrograde cycles have a purpose. Retrograde planets signal a time to pause, review and reset one’s inner compass. During April, this essential process is very evident as three planets, Mercury, Saturn and Pluto, begin a retrograde phase. 2017 got off to a momentous start, and great progress has been made, but now the universe is providing the opportunity to stop, review, contemplate, clarify and prioritize.
In the pressure to produce and accomplish, there can be resistance to this necessary process. Retrograde periods tend to produce delay, and these weeks tend to be a “back to the drawing board” phase. These are excellent weeks to complete projects, and wrap up loose ends. Don’t be surprised if plans need to be reconfigured, and possibly changed for the better. However, with a good dose of patience, this process yields benefits down the road. The virtues of flexibility and curiosity provide the energy needed to adapt to life’s changing scenery.
Literally and figuratively, if the planets could speak, Mercury retrograde says, “Slow down and watch your step.” Saturn retrograde says, “Be patient, all in good time, God’s time.” Pluto retrograde says, “Look within, and to avoid complications, be impeccable in thought, word and deed.” Let’s take each of these planets one by one; they deserve a closer look.
Three times a year Mercury enters a retrograde phase for about 21 days. In this case, Mercury goes retrograde in the evening on April 9. Watch for clues as to how this phase is asking you to pause and reflect. Are there any projects that need to be completed in order to move forward? Be alert as insights bubble to the surface of your awareness. No need to hurry. Clarity dawns as Mercury goes direct on May 3.
Revolutionary forces are at work during Mercury’s retrograde phase as Mercury joins Uranus three times (March 26, April 28, May 10). Uranus is the wild card of astrology. This combination suggests sudden revelations and major disclosures. The stage is already set, the atmosphere is primed for unsettling information that can disrupt the everyday flow of events. All forms of communication, including technology, carry added weight, more capacity to turn the tables, and disrupt the status quo.
Now Saturn is another story. Beginning a retrograde phase on April 6, Saturn spends a significant passage in this more introspective underworld, emerging once again in direct motion on August 25. During these coming months, there is a call for circumspection, honoring the inherent bonds of connection between individuals, groups, communities and nations.
Saturn is a social planet, governing, supporting and sustaining the institutions in which the individual can survive and thrive. This is an opportunity to align one’s personal values, goals and direction in terms of what is possible and advantageous within the larger social milieu. But perhaps, more urgent and important, it’s about time for institutions to listen to those they purport to serve.
Saturn is currently transiting through the zodiac sign of Sagittarius (2015-2017). In the United States and abroad, this transit is deeply exposing core principles that inform, motivate and guide institutions. Humans are an interdependent species living within a web of connectivity. The current state of social complexity makes it essential for institutions to truly serve the needs of people, and not the other way around.
Saturn in Sagittarius is exposing the ways we agree or disagree with each other in terms of the nebulous, hard to define, area of belief. It is a tumultuous time for the country. As a society we are encountering tremendous diversity, and many people are choosing the great divide of righteous indignation and judgment.
Within the tumult, there is a rising call for the kind of tolerance that opens a holy space of connection. This entails a dropping of persuasion, and self centered perspective. In this holy space it is possible to engage with a curious and listening attitude, an attitude that opens minds and hearts, the meeting place of genuine solutions.
Pluto begins its yearly retrograde phase on April 20, and will not go direct until September 28. Pluto is part of the larger collective picture, providing the environment in which the lower self of humanity plays itself out. Like a volcanic eruption, Pluto serves to expose what is hidden between the lines, beneath the surface of consciousness. Pluto is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about until it is an obvious necessity.
In its passage through Capricorn, 2008 – 2023, Pluto continues to drill down to subterranean depths exposing the roots of greed, avarice, manipulation and control. Capricorn is the zodiac sign of corporations and governments. No wonder, these institutions are being called to task.
The Full Moon on April 10 continues to amplify this deeper story of corporate and government takeover, while highlighting the need for integrity, ethics and accountability. This Full Moon stimulates the Cardinal Cross formation that has been taking place since 2012, further emphasizing the collective reality that our global society is in the midst of a major breakdown/breakthrough.
Each person dwells within this cosmic soup of planetary influences, and Astrologer Pam Younghans sums up this Cardinal Cross planetary pattern very succinctly for the individual. “A cardinal formation such as this calls us to choose courage over combativeness (Aries), to be emotionally available but not overly sensitive (Cancer), to cooperate but not slip into codependence (Libra), and to be realistic without becoming pessimistic (Capricorn).
Throughout April we experience three planets beginning a retrograde phase, but now let’s look to Venus. This planet of love, affection, artistry, and beauty is completing a retrograde phase, and going direct on April 15. Consider recent weeks since Venus went retrograde on March 4. More than likely, you will see themes of connection or lack thereof. These experiences can drive home your values, what is important to you, and the need to align with your heartfelt life expression. As Venus goes direct, you may experience a renewal and commitment to share and express your heart in this world of form.
When Venus goes direct on April 15, it is closely joined with Chiron in Pisces. Discovered in 1977, this small celestial body orbits between Saturn and Uranus. Chiron is the archetypal wounded healer, the healer’s healer. Don’t be surprised if unresolved sorrows, regrets and hurts simmer to the surface of consciousness. It’s time to welcome the easy, gentle, loving touch of Venus.
There is an added dimension to this combination of Venus and Chiron in Pisces, a joining that speaks to ancient wounds of separation from Source. Awareness of collective suffering is poignant and impressionable. Many hearts are opening to the fact that many humans feel lost, confused, hurt and disenfranchised. There is a call to take an active stand, reach out and make a difference in the lives of those that are suffering.
From an astrologer’s point of view, it is not a coincidence that Earth Day occurs during the Sun’s transit through Taurus, the most earthy and stable of all zodiac signs. Numerous educational events, protests and demonstrations are planned for this Earth Day. Climate scientists, environmentalists, and nature lovers are prepared, ready to speak up on behalf of planet Gaia.
As the month concludes, a Taurus New Moon on April 26 provides realistic and practical grounding. The soothing and healing power of nature is evident as the great outdoors beckons us out of winter’s cave into sunlight.
Considering the planetary trends for April, I am reminded of a thunderstorm. Dark clouds have been building for some time, the atmosphere is equally stagnant and electric. The rumbling, thunderous roar is distant, but unmistakable in its approach. Something is needed to clear the air, and momentum is building for a high voltage release of lightening. This is a reckoning and humbling storm, awesome in its power to transform.
If only I could promise the storm will be over soon, but there are no guarantees. However, with a fair amount of confidence, I can suggest that the storm is cresting very quickly, and will pass by year’s end. This approaching storm will play itself out, as all storms do, but in the meantime, this storm will stir up much debris, and take down many limbs. The clean up will take months, if not years, and the rainbow of victory may not be visible right away. But, as clouds recede, there is a lifting up throughout the human family, and the work that must be done makes itself known.