The Astrology of April focuses on Mercury in retrograde, an Aries lineup as the month takes off and also once again the outer planets: Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Mercury is in retrograde all month long, when you count the shadow period – the time when it is still catching up to the Zodiacal degree where it began to go backward – so we might expect the usual symptoms of missed communications and false starts. This is a particularly powerful Mercury retrograde, due to the fact that it contacts so many other planets as it moves backward through Aries. The times of its most heightened activity are the 9th, 17th and the 23rd. Mercury will be totally free of its shadow by next month, on May 11th.
The AriesNew Moon, taking place on Sunday, April 3rd, in the beginning weekend of the month, features a long chain of planets in Aries, each feeding off the energies of the others. Mars and Uranus, in the beginning degrees of the sign and in almost exact conjunction, are followed by the Sun and Moon at the 14th degree – a degree with a particularly powerful Sabian Symbol – conjunctJupiter and directly opposed to Saturn across the Zodiac at the 14th degree of Libra. Finally, in the last decant of Aries, Eris and Mercury are in conjunction. The Sabian Symbol for this New Moon is a serpent encircling a man and a woman, representing the process of transcending polarity in conscious evolution, and certainly that is precisely what these climactic times are all about.
MarsconjunctUranus – and at the beginning of Mars' own sign of Aries – brings a creative spark of enlightened activity to the fore. It is an exciting time to be alive right now, and also, we must note, a time to temper the headstrong rush of activity with a dose of caution. It is definitely in the cards to go overboard with sudden enthusiasm and accidents are more than possible. Saturnopposed to Jupiter brings in this corrective energy of limitation as a counterweight to the rebellious and forward-going energy represented by Uranus and we do well to heed it during this powerful and climactic month.
Since Saturn, retrograde in Libra and exactly opposed to both the New Moon and Jupiter, is also now in forming square to Pluto, there is a great deal of emphasis on the darker side of limitation. Rick Tarnas, in his ground-breaking astrological study Cosmos and Psyche, refers to Saturn-Pluto as "conservative empowerment." This can be seen in reaction to the forward-going energy of Uranus in square to Pluto. So we have Uranus newly in Aries – and being given a kick this month by Mars – urging us to go forward, while Saturn holds us back, thereby pulling us in at least two directions at once. The revolutionary energy of Uranus has been prominent for weeks now, as evidenced by the Mid-East protest movement that has toppled at least one prominent dictator so far, and the reaction to that movement.
Now, with Saturn-Pluto, we will be seeing an even greater resurgence of conservative backlash within the collective. In our own lives as well, we will continue to deal with disillusion and loss of faith in ourselves, just as we are also getting a jolt of new energy to go forward and accomplish great things, freeing ourselves from the shackles of the past. We are getting both contrary impulses simultaneously, and this is complicated by Pluto in square to both Saturn and Uranus. We are thus experiencing a final surge of the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-square from last summer, with all its potential drama. We win when rather than experiencing defeat we make these difficulties an occasion for learning and growth of character.
Pluto in his turn, stations on April 9th, squared by Mars in Aries, and is therefore very powerful in the midmonth timeframe. This midmonth time is also when Mercury retrogradeconjuncts the Sun, and when Neptune enters Pisces for several months leading up to this summer. The entrance of Neptune into Pisces brings his planetary archetype of compassion and selflessness more fully into play. This is an energy that is also idealized in nature, wanting the best for everyone, and perhaps too, an energy somewhat confused by real-world considerations. We will very much need to access the sense of compassionate oneness with all the rest of humankind that Neptune brings. We are all in the same boat, as we are increasingly reminded, and the boat is leaking.
The Full Moon in Libra takes place on Sunday, April 17; along with the Sun and Moon, Mars and Saturn are now opposed, making it difficult to get things done. retrogradeMercuryconjunctsMars – exact on the very next day. Neptune and Pluto are also powerfully aspected at this time, Neptune by parallel, so the outer planet energies continue to be powerfully invoked. These energies take us literally out of this mundane world. Compassion is with us now, which we need both for ourselves and for others within the pressure cooker of the evolutionary impulse provided by Uranus and Pluto in combination. Their square is well within orb, and draws ever nearer right through the summer. These times are tough now and we need to be even tougher if we are to survive – and to prosper artistically – in the midst of creative chaos.