Astrology of May 2008
by Henry Seltzer (
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The Astrology of May again features Mars and Venus, Saturn and Pluto, with a touch of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune thrown into the stew for multi-dimensional flavoring. Mercury also retrogrades near the end of the month. Saturn stands still in the sky in its apparent motion on May 2nd and as it does, almost exactly trines Pluto in the first degree of Capricorn. Saturn with Pluto implies that something has to give, in terms of the basic structures of our lives, as we saw during the fall of 2001 when they were opposed across the U.S. Ascendant and Descendant during the event that became known as 9-11. This month, with the trine, we might expect a much more graceful passage. Still in our individual lives and in the progress of the country as a whole we may feel as though caught between a rock and a hard place, as the aftermath of 9-11 and the American response to it continues to unfold.

At the time of the May 5th New Moon, an aspect pattern known as a Yod forms to Mars in Cancer involving both Neptune and Pluto, just as Mars is getting ready to make his transition into Leo on the 9th. This New Moon also strongly aspects Pluto and Chiron, meaning that patterns of behavior that are more or less unconscious will be up for recognition and potentially painful readjustment. It is important to keep our eyes wide open during this time and to pay careful attention to whatever comes up for us.

Uranus and Jupiter remain closely sextile to each other in this May time frame. In fact, their connection draws closer through the first twenty days of the month. Jupiter retrogrades on the 9th, with only half a degree separating them. The sextile is an open minded aspect between these two optimistic and forward-thinking planetary energies, and provides the possibility for new thoughts and visions to rapidly enter into our collective awareness.

The other outer planet configuration in the mix at this time involves Neptune in the last phase of its opposition to Saturn. The Full Moon of May 19th emphasizes both Saturn and Neptune, archetypal energies that are largely antithetical, representing the mystical ideal versus the practical and concretely here-and-now. This configuration can indicate a loss of faith in social institutions and a focus on Spirit. Their opposition has been active over the last two summers, and this month's last pass may provide a summing up.

The energy for transformation represented by Pluto in Capricorn remains an important and potent presence through this entire time, as Saturn contributes emphasis. The times are hard and they are a'changing, and we must accept what we cannot immediately cure. The good news in all this is that sometimes change is fundamentally needed. We win when we recognize this simple fact of our existence and choose hope over despair, the depth of our process over distraction, and spiritual over superficial reality, aligning ourselves with the numinous possibility inherent in all our striving. We win when we choose life.

Transits to the U.S. Chart USA

Last month we stated that the military was likely to be implicated in the American political climate and that as the race for the Democratic nominee heated up there would likely be changes in the way we see ourselves as a nation. With U.S. Mercury activated the press could also be involved. Indeed this past month saw increased military activity with the death toll mounting in Iraq and questions concerning the uses of retired military personal as television pundits. See article published in the April 20th NY Times:

Of course the press coverage of the Obama campaign and the questions asked of both candidates during the Pennsylvania Primary debate on Wednesday, April 16th, also reflected the view of the nation as a whole and the campaign in particular as well as the combative nature of journalism today.

In the current month, Jupiter stations retrograde opposite U.S. Mercury on May 9th, and then the May 11th Quarter Moon emphasizes the aspects to Neptune in the U.S. chart from transiting Jupiter, Chiron and Uranus. Neptune in the U.S chart represents both the high road of spiritual values, a factor brought to great prominence by the founding fathers and still a powerful influence today, at least in name, and the potential for deception that might be practiced upon the population in attempted coercion. Both of these element might well come into play in this next month, especially in the period of time from the 5th to the 12th. Combined with the heightened presence of aspects to U.S. Mercury as well, issues of press coverage might once more occupy the nation's attention. Another important time would be the retrograde of Mercury on May 26th directly on U.S Mars, representing the nation's military. Increased consciousness of the purpose and uses of the U.S. military, as well as deceptions in this regard, might come to light for deeper reflection at this time.

For more information on these important placements in the U.S. chart and the politics of today's America from an astrological perspective, see our new Zodiactivism feature.

May 5th New Moon New Moon Chart
This New Moon takes place on the power point of mid-Taurus, 15 + degrees. Additionally, there is quite a close sesquiquadrate between the New Moon and Pluto, ruler of the polarity point, bringing increased transformational pressure to bear. The SaturnPluto trine is very close at this time, and emphasized by this lunation, and also by the Full Moon two weeks later on. Pluto with Saturn represents the difficult experience that structures central to our lives must undergo a radical transformation in order to remain viable.

May 11th First Quarter Moon First Quarter Moon Chart
This is an unusually dicey First Quarter Moon, coming as it does a few days after the retrograde station of Jupiter on the 9th, and making a close aspect to it. Jupiter is exactly sextile Uranus now, within half a degree, while Chiron occupies their midpoint, indicating that the energy of new ideas is charismatically present for us at this time, and is useful in healing old patterns of dysfunctional behavior wherever these may occur in our individual lives. Particularly the social instabilities that accompany group associations and the group decision process are subject to increased consciousness, renewed understanding, and brilliant and perhaps rather sudden solutions.

May 19th Full Moon Full Moon Chart
This Full Moon takes place in the last degree of Scorpio, representing the last best chance to make a significant change toward breakthrough with regard to some particular aspect of our situation. The Sabian Symbol for this degree is "A Halloween Jester" which is reminiscent of Uranus, also powerfully constellated at this time, and reveals the possibility for social revelation and dramatization of our path forward as well as the surprising epiphany that may correct the limits of our understanding. This Sabian Symbols contrasts with the Sun in the final degree of Taurus, whose symbol is "A peacock parading on an ancient lawn," reminding us of the accumulated gift of the social traditions that have come before us, and the urge to glory in this as well as in our more material manifestations of accrued greatness. Uranus is exactly sextile to Jupiter at this time and inconjunct the South Node. This Full Moon also significantly forms a T-square to Saturn in early Virgo, bringing his sense of limitation and the frustration of our efforts for rapid movement very firmly into the picture. The slow build-up will work the best at this time.

May 26th Mercury Stations Retrograde Mercury SR
This retrograde exactly squares Uranus and therefore will be even more of a joker card than is usually the case. We can expect communication and mechanical breakdowns as well as breakthroughs in a wild and wooly retrograde period that will last through to the end of June when you take the period of the retrograde shadow into account.

May 27th Last Quarter Moon Last Quarter Moon Chart
This phase traditionally represents the "crisis of consciousness" that follows the preceding three weeks of outward development; a time of gathering and collecting the resulting wisdom as a starting point for the next cycle to unfold. The Sun now occupies the sign of Gemini, where the recent retrograde of Mercury took place also. With Mercury ruling Gemini and therefore the Sun, this end of month period will be far more introspective and reflective than the weeks that preceded it.