The Astrology of April features Venus, Mars, Neptune and Pluto. The issues of limitation represented by Saturn must also be mentioned as a factor, because it remains in singular position, in Virgo, across the Zodiac from all the rest of the planets as it has for months. Mars is currently traveling through the opposite sign – Pisces – and will oppose Saturn from April 1st through April 6th, symbolizing the crux of a period of time during which we will accomplish what we are attempting, but with greater difficulty, and also with results that will be longer lasting and provide important lessons.
The New Moon from the end of last month squared Pluto, and as April begins and then again as it ends, Venus also squares Pluto. The transformational energy of Pluto therefore colors the entire month. Pluto in Capricorn represents necessary albeit painful restructuring. This gets harder when we refuse to let go and instead try to hang on to a dysfunctional past
Neptune is featured in these April skies as well, especially as a participant in a forming triple conjunction with Jupiter and Chiron. This symbolism is full of healing potential, and perfects after the end of the month. In the first week of April, as these planets draw nearer to each other, we begin to feel the effects in terms of greater spiritual commitment and also in terms of recognition of the places within ourselves where we feel a sense of separation from the divine. With Jupiter's presence, only now beginning to join Neptune and Chiron, the effect is magnified. This essentially refers to the existential pain of the human condition, and we can learn much about ourselves and our situation throughout this month and the next. By the time of the April 24th New Moon, which aspects these planets, their separation from each other is only two degrees for Jupiter and less than half a degree for Chiron-Neptune, so making this a focal point of a period when we might more fully tune in to the energy of healing and of a sense of oneness with the universe. There is healing available to us and it can come through our imagination if we honor this important function, and if we keep open to the potency of the cosmos, which is also the potency within us.
Venus is also extremely active right now and is in retrograde. She disappeared as the Evening Star last month around the time of the Spring Equinox, on March 20th, and reappears as the Morning Star with her Heliacal Rise on April 3rd. Since Venus rises in Aries, this is a powerful time for Venus energy, the beginning of a year and a half of a more masculine-oriented and empowered feminine spirit. As Venus returns to direct motion on April 17th, she also conjuncts Mars, further emphasizing this empowerment from midmonth onward. As mentioned earlier, Venus is also square Pluto both as the month begins and at the time of the April 24th New Moon. Venus square Pluto and conjunct Mars is a strong Venus who will let nothing stand in her way. We are seeing the return of the strong feminine as we did in the sixties when women burned their bras and protested the Vietnam War, and we are likely to see different but equivalent activity over the next few years. This feminine force will obviously be needed to aid in healing this country and the world, so badly damaged in recent years by warfare and greed, which can be conceived as runaway masculine energies. There is now hope as well as difficulty. We have a hard road to follow but at the end of our journey will be greater understanding, love and compassion.
Transits to the U.S. Chart
Last month we mentioned the 10th of March as a time when there might arise further issues of deception, illusion and idealism, especially in regard to military matters. This is because the characteristic Neptune square Mars in the U.S. chart was triggered by the Full Moon, transiting Saturn and transiting Uranus, while transiting Mars conjuncted U.S. Moon.
A few headlines from this period – March 9th and 10th:
Montreal - International Women's Day: thousands rally calling for a new world order
Israeli Apartheid Week took place in cities and on campuses around the world last week...
At Least 25 Die in Iraq Bombing
Obama Admits US Isn't Winning War in Afghanistan; Considers Talks with Taliban
In an interview with the New York Times, President Obama admitted the US is not winning the war in Afghanistan. His comment came weeks after he ordered 17,000 more troops to fight as part of an escalation of the seven-year-old war. Obama also revealed that the US is considering reaching out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.
These last three headlines point out the increasingly serious world situation that the U.S. faces in its attempts to provide the world with military solutions to pressing social problems, such as the tribal splits between factions in the Middle East and in Afghanistan.
Perhaps the most startling headline, in view of this saintly man's known restraint in such pronouncements:
Dalai Lama: China Has Turned Tibet into "Hell on Earth"
The Dalai Lama marked his fiftieth year in exile earlier today by demanding "meaningful autonomy" for his Tibetan homeland, where Chinese authorities have tightened security to stifle protests against their rule. The Dalai Lama slammed China for bringing "untold suffering and destruction" to Tibet and turning the region at times into a "hell on earth." His words came on the fiftieth anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese troops, which led to his exile.
All these items reflect a growing realization that the solution to the world's problems can no longer be considered to depend on military methods; that this is an illusion endemic to the American foreign policy (represented by Mars in the 7th house of partnership in the U.S. chart, and incidentally square to Neptune). Instead the world and the United States must begin to rely on a broader and more high-road manifestation of Neptune that reflects compassion and the unity of humankind. This is where the idealism of the American people would like things to go, and where perhaps things could go if the illusion of progress through military might could be transcended.
In the current month, the First Quarter Moon of Thursday, April 2nd, is likely to provide a moment of tension, since it conjuncts and squares U.S. Sun, while aspecting Mars in trine with U.S. Sun and inconjunct U.S. Saturn. The outer planet aspects that have been so powerful lately are also still in effect and likely to be triggered at this time as well, and at the Full Moon of April 9th. Transiting Pluto is opposing U.S. Venus, the chart's 10th house ruler, while also squaring the Midheaven, indicating the depth of the transformation that this country is in the midst of. More and deeper revelations will surely follow in the weeks and months ahead.
April 2nd First Quarter Moon
The First Quarter Moon is generally speaking a time of trials, when "the rubber meets the road" and we are able to see which of the dreams and schemes that we have been imagining since the last New Moon are likely to come to fruition. This month's configuration is extremely powerful, since Venus is also retrograde and square to Pluto, while the Sun and Moon in tense aspect connect with a forming Mars – Saturn opposition. It will be difficult to bring about what we strive for, but what we do accomplish will have long-lasting impact.
April 9th Full Moon
This Full Moon, like the ones of the last few months also, triggers the now-widening Saturn – Uranus opposition which is also catalyzed by Mars in Pisces. Mars conjuncts Uranus and occupies a degree that is midway between these antithetical planetary heavyweights. The Sun and Moon in their opposition aspect Mars to within a few minutes of a degree, by semi-sextile and inconjunct. The keyword for these aspects is "adjustment." We may well see the further unfolding of transformation in our own lives and in the life of our culture, surrounding the crux of this time period.
April 17th Last Quarter Moon
This lunar phase has been termed a "crisis in consciousness" in which important realizations are made, taking the place of hoped-for events; a time when we can more easily see what serves the interest of our higher selves going forward and what doesn't. This configuration is graced by a triple conjunction of retrograde Venus, Mars and Uranus, sextiled by the Moon. This is a fairly explosive combination, and we might expect that relationship insights will rain down upon us whether we are entirely ready for them or not.
April 24th New Moon
This powerful Taurus New Moon has its ruler, Venus, once more in square aspect to Pluto, indicating a time of transformational insight and activity. Venus is direct now, and conjunct Mars in Aries, although this configuration will not perfect until June. From late April until late June, as Venus regains momentum, Venus and Mars remain within orb of a conjunction. This New Moon therefore ushers in a weeks-long time of exploring our partnership energy. We will find renewed appreciation for the important relationships in our lives and also question our motivations regarding them, so that at the end of this period we may be not only happier but wiser as well.