April 2016 Astrocycles - Mars and Pluto Retrograde

by Joan Kiley

Flower by Manu JobstThe Moon was conjunct Pluto and square a Uranus/Mercury conjunction at the onset of April. This was a rather potent signature to begin a month when both Mars and Pluto will station retrograde. In addition to that powerful aspect, Jupiter and Saturn were square to each other, and Mars was square Neptune on the “fool’s day.”

Why is a Moon/Pluto conjunction in square to a Uranus/Mercury conjunction so powerful? We need to look at the symbols and what they represent. The Moon is our feeling nature, our emotional responses and reflections, while Pluto is deep, primal, and associated with life and death issues. Uranus can be sudden, unexpected changes or events, including intuitional insights, while Mercury is our thought processes, communications and ideas. The two planets in conjunction meld together, and the planets in square ignite a crisis. What might happen if a person, or persons, became overwhelmed by deeply held emotions that suddenly emerged and demanded to be spoken or acted upon? It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to bring a number of scenarios to mind that could be quite healing, or quite devastating, in their outcomes.

This is not to say that every individual will experience crisis at a “life and death” level, or  at any level, for that matter. Reading the chart of a moment in time, in this case, the onset of a given month, is a reading for the collective, for the universe itself. And it speaks to what is stirring in the cauldron of the world we occupy, in this case, for the month of April. We may tap into it, especially if what is stirring closely aspects our own chart, or we may not, at least in any conscious way. We will, however, see the aspects play out in some manner, in the global arena, and most probably, closer to home, if we’re paying attention. As above, so below.

Jupiter and Saturn, both retrograde in April, will remain in a square aspect for the entire month. Mars and Neptune will also remain in a square aspect throughout the month, as will Uranus and Pluto. Jupiter opposed Neptune, and both of them square to Saturn maintain a T-square for the duration of April. Given that these are all “hard” aspects, there is a stasis-like feeling. None of the planets involved will move much at all. This can feel like we’re on the edge or being dragged down, but have none of that. Focus on the determination of Saturn, the creativity of Jupiter, and the positive future possibilities of Neptune. It’s a slow-down, not a drag-down!

Two of the planets, Jupiter and Saturn, started out the month retrograde, and another two will become retrograde mid-month. By the end of the month, Mercury will also be retrograde. Despite energetic Aries energy, this particular April is not a month for a lot of movement. Rather, it is a time of reflecting on what is emerging, or has emerged, as fodder for change. Something in you is preparing to express itself. Giving yourself time for introspection is like fertilizing a young plant, whose time has not quite come for blooming, but needs attentive nurturing to make sure that it does.

Venus entered Aries at 9:51 AM PDT on April 5, putting four planets in Aries, briefly, before Mercury left Aries and entered Taurus, at 4:10 PM PDT, on the same day. Meanwhile Mars, the third of the personal planets, continued to slow down, in preparation for its once every two years retrograde period, lasting just over two months.

On April 7, at 4:23 AM PDT, we had the Aries New Moon at 18 degrees, and conjunct Uranus! An Aries New Moon wants to give us a jolt of fiery new energy, in the new zodiacal year, and conjunct Uranus, it was even more of a blast for new beginnings. The Aries ruler, Mars, was square Neptune, and slowing, taking a bit of the charge away from wild impulsive action, but certainly supportive of visioning where we need to be going, and what we need to change.

A big dynamic for the New Moon and its conjunction with Uranus, was the square with Pluto. As we talked about earlier, the Moon was conjunct Pluto on April 1, giving us a small preview into what could happen in the month ahead. With Pluto then square the New Moon, things that have been stirring in our depths could surface. Issues that are ready to be dealt with, but may make us uncomfortable. The caution for us all was, and is, to not project our troubles onto someone else. Try not to blame others, stop refusing to take your share of responsibility when conflicts arise because you believe you are “a nice person.” Everyone has wounds. Everyone has hurts they have repressed and stuffed into unconscious realms. The world is crazy enough without any of us adding to it. It is not the time for jumping to conclusions, or feeling desperate. Give yourself some quiet moments, deep breathing moments, self-loving moments. Face what needs to be faced. There will be time to sort things out.

AND, it is not just the shadow side of this New Moon we need to accept. There is a very lighter one as well. You may become aware of a new direction for your life, or the perfect timing for an action you’ve been planning for some time. You may be relieved of long-held resentments, and just be able to let go and move on. This is the perfect opportunity to set intentions. Remember, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn have been working hard this month as well, reminding us about having faith, trusting the universe, and moving ahead in our evolution.

By April 10, Venus will be in trine to Mars, and bring some strong fiery relationship energy to the mix. This can remind us of the value of our friendships, and the power of community to help us feel like we belong. By April 12, Mercury in Taurus is beginning to form an Earth Grand Trine with Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn, while sextile Neptune in Pisces. Our minds will be attuned to practicality and grounding our true natures in the real world, for at least a week.

Mars stations retrograde at 5:14 AM PDT on April 17 at 8 degrees 54 minutes Sagittarius, square the Moon in Virgo and Neptune in PiscesOn April 18, at 12:26 AM PDT, Pluto stations retrograde at 17 degrees 29 minutes Capricorn. For both of these stations, there remains a Grand Trine in earth signs, with Mercury in Taurus, Jupiter in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn. At the time of Pluto’s station, the Moon joins the Grand Trine conjunct Jupiter in Virgo. Venus also joins the party by squaring Pluto. With all of these aspects, look for a slowdown in productive activity, but an increase in awareness of how you are going about your plans. Let this be an opportunity to review, re-strategize, or restructure the operation so that your project will actually achieve more and not less. Be willing to let go of what is no longer working, so that you are not burdened or held back by the outdated or outmoded.

On April 19, the Sun changes signs, and enters Taurus, at 8:30 AM PDT. Whenever the Sun changes signs, there is a significant shift in energy. From fiery Aries to earthy Taurus is usually a slowing down, less intense or “driven” kind of feeling. Nevertheless, we might want to get ourselves into the outdoors, start the garden, and enjoying the growing daylight.

The entire second half of the month carries a very different kind of energy than the first half. There is less anticipation, edginess, and excitement. There is still a lot of feeling, especially around the Full Moon, and we need to honor the depths from which that feeling comes. That means breathe/think before speaking or acting impulsively.

The Full Moon in Scorpio arrives at 10:23 PM PDT on April 21. By then the Grand Trine in Earth has faded, as Mercury will have moved out of orb. The mutable T-square, however, remains active, as does the Mars/Neptune square. A Scorpio Moon carries intensity of feeling, feeling that originates from deep within, the underworld of Pluto, Scorpio’s co-ruler. On the one hand, this could bring us to a state of calm, knowing we are on the right path and on course. On the other hand, we could get highly aroused with anger or animosity, remembering that Mars is also co-ruler of Scorpio. At this Full Moon, Venus is conjunct Uranus, reminding us of our need for freedom and independence. Relationship troubles could erupt from feelings of distrust or betrayal.

Given the state of world affairs at this time, it would not be far fetched to imagine some rather dramatic events in the final week of April. Though Mars is retrograde at that time, it is conjunct the fixed star Antares. Antares sits at 9 degrees 47 minutes Sagittarius, in the Scorpio constellation. Antares has a rather fearsome reputation, as it even appears red and bright like Mars. It is said to be working at the root chakra, or survival level, is tough, belligerent, but also strategic. Combining the two together could be quite brilliant and courageous, or aggressive and destructive. On April 24-25, the Moon is also conjunct Antares, bringing more emotion into the picture.

Mercury stations retrograde at 10:20 AM PDT April 28 at 23 degrees 36 minutes Taurus, and will remain so until May 22. This means there will be then five planets retrograde, and leaves no doubt that our task is to think deeply, review and reprocess events, projects, feelings, and issues of the recent time period. We do this to prepare ourselves for even greater changes later in the year.

Venus moves into her own sign of Taurus at 5:36 PM PDT on April 29, giving us three planets in Taurus to close out the month. This feels like a calming force, more patient, stable, wanting to indulge in the creature comforts we all need. Give yourself the self-care that’s needed by all of us, cuddle up with those close to you, whether they be of the human or animal species, and enjoy yourself.

Joan Kiley AstrologerSee you next month.


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