Astrology of May 2009
by Henry Seltzer (
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The Astrology of May features Venus, Mars, Neptune, Chiron and Pluto, and Mercury is retrograde most of the month, meaning this could be a frustrating month as well, with a spate of missed communications and mechanical breakdowns. These apparent difficulties could even be magnified, since Mercury aspects Pluto as it stations, and because the issues of limitation represented by Saturn are still very active. Pluto in Capricorn is still very much with us throughout the year, and triggered by this month’s configurations. This Pluto transit represents necessary albeit painful restructuring. Saturn remains singular, on its own side of the Zodiac apart from all the rest of the planets, and therefore also emphasized. The lesson here is for all of us to pay careful attention to everything that happens to us right now with a minimum of reactivity. If we hold on tight and stay the course we will eventually see the benefits of our striving.

Mercury stations retrograde on May 6th in the early degrees of Gemini, and aspects Pluto as it changes direction. The period of the retrograde lasts about five weeks, counting the time of the “retrograde shadow.” May 15th to the 17th, when Mercury conjuncts the Sun, represents one highlight of the retrograde. Mercury turns to direct motion on May 30th, but does not re-enter Gemini and regain its lost zodiacal longitude until mid-June. There will be a gradual easing off of the retrograde condition, but it is best not to push things until then. Also on the 30th, the direct motion will be accompanied by uncertainty of a different kind, since Mercury also squares Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter for nearly two weeks at this time. This is likely to be an extremely powerful Mercury retrograde period due to the aspects made with Pluto and with Neptune. All in all, this will be a difficult time, but one that is terrific for introspection and journaling, as we attempt to come to grips with our deeper issues both individually and collectively.

Neptune is featured in these May skies as well, especially as a participant in a forming triple conjunction with Jupiter and Chiron. This symbolism is full of healing potential, and is especially strong from the 17th until around the time of the Gemini New Moon of May 24th in the middle of Memorial Day weekend. The configuration is active to the end of the year, staying extremely close through late summer. As these planets draw nearer to each other in the current timeframe, we begin to feel the effects in terms of idealistic social values and also greater awareness of our separation from this ideal or from our spiritual essence. Ironically, this separation is only an illusion, albeit a powerful one. Could we but see our world – and ourselves – as whole, our supposed fall from grace could flip in an instant’s epiphany, which is something that Eckhart Tolle has famously been promoting in his recent epic best seller, A New Earth.

Venus, newly direct, remains in conjunction with Mars for this entire month and squares Pluto from the 1st to the 8th as Mercury retrogrades. Our relationships will be on our minds for most of this month and we will be looking into our hidden motivations regarding the way that we relate. Right relationship with each other – and indeed with ourselves and with our planet – represents the only way out of our current set of almost inconceivable dilemmas. Perhaps it’s time we got started.

Transits to the U.S. Chart USA

Last month we stated that April 2nd to the 9th would be a time of trials and tribulations for the American administration and its military machine, with the possibility of deception surfacing. This was due to transits affecting U.S. Sun and also its MarsNeptune square. It turns out that April 2nd was the day of massive protests at the G20 summit in London, as world leaders gathered in the midst of an increasing economic melt-down, and after the Obama administration had put so much money into the banking system with so little actual oversight. One group of protestors wrote “thieves” on the wall of a London bank, and one person died in the protest. The next day, NATO’s 60th anniversary summit in the city of Strasbourg met with hundreds of protesters. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets.
In the week to follow it became clear that violence was increasing in Iraq, even as President Obama requested nearly $84 billion in war funding. There were also tens of thousands of Iraqi protestors on the 6th anniversary of the invasion.

Of course the biggest story involving deception and the military from April would be the release of the Bush administration’s torture memos, authorizing torture and making arguments for its legality, together with the assurance from the Obama administration that CIA operatives who followed these guidelines with prisoners would be spared from prosecution. This story significantly broke on April 17th, the same day as the Last Quarter Moon which exactly conjuncted U.S. Pluto. The timing on this was quite similar to that of another related story, namely that the Spanish attorney general has recommended against prosecuting six Bush administration officials for promoting the torture of Guantanamo prisoners, yielding to pressure from the Obama administration.

The above stories indicate that the NeptuneMars square in the U.S chart is alive and well, if ‘well’ is the applicable word. The transits of April highlighted this aspect.
In the current month, the dates that stand out are May 8th and the 16th - 17th, and May 24th. May 16th is when Saturn stations direct in sextile to U.S. Sun. The Full Moon of the 8th as well as the New Moon of the 24th aspect transiting Pluto, just as Pluto squares the U.S Midheaven and opposes U.S. Venus. We might unfortunately see further revelations during this month regarding the eroding situation for the U.S. economy.

May 1st First Quarter Moon First Quarter Moon Chart
This dynamic configuration reflects the traditional reading as a “crisis in action,” namely that your progress in the first week after the creative impulse of the New Moon will hit some snags. The new shoot sticks its head above ground for the first time, but is very vulnerable at this stage and completely subject to environmental conditions that may limit it severely. The Taurus New Moon that we are working off of made a quintile aspect to the forming Jupiter, Chiron, Neptune triple conjunction, indicating a subtle and optimistic trend in our thinking. It also signaled the beginning of a weeks-long conjunction between Mars and Venus. This is an aggressive Venus, newly risen from the underworld in feisty Aries. Now, in this May timeframe, Venus is square to Pluto, meaning that we will be taking a closer look at the many forms of relationship in our lives with the growth-oriented idea of transforming them. Since Mercury is also newly in Gemini and about to turn retrograde this is a tentative time with respect to thought forms and communications in general.

May 6th Mercury retrograde MSR
This is the official start to the Mercury retrograde period that was already edging into being over the previous week or so. This is therefore likely to be a time of missed communications and mechanical breakdown, as inner contemplation is favored and outer form slows. Events begun under the retrograde will likely reverse or change direction in some way after the retrograde period is over. This retrograde period will be particularly intense since Mercury aspects Pluto and the Nodal Axis as it stations, and will last approximately five weeks, counting the period of the retrograde shadow. Mercury turns to direct motion on May 30th and returns to Gemini on June 13th, regaining its lost Zodiacal ground by June 15th.

May 8th Full Moon Full Moon Chart
This Full Moon represents the flowering of our ideas from the time when the Taurus New Moon took place during the last weekend of April. It occupies the middle of the opposite sign – Scorpio – and makes a T-square to Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius, indicating that creative solutions are possible. They begin with a simple gesture: we have only to turn toward the light of our higher Selves. There is a sextile to Saturn, plus a powerful sesquiquadrate and semi-square to Pluto in Capricorn, reminding us that on the other hand the fullness of our transformation requires slow and steady hard work to fulfill itself, that there is no free lunch.

May 17th Last Quarter Moon Last Quarter Moon Chart
This is a dynamic configuration since the Moon conjuncts the forming triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune, now within a degree of exact. The Sun also aspects Pluto in a subtle bi-quintile aspect indicative of harmony. Saturn stations just one day earlier, on the 16th and is therefore emphasized. The founding father of modern Western Humanistic astrology, Dane Rudhyar, called this Last Quarter Moon a “crisis of consciousness,” since with regard to the energy of the preceding New Moon we are now in a position to reap the benefits of our experience of what worked out, and what didn’t, in the form of higher awareness that becomes the seed of our next phase. With Saturn emphasized and aspecting Venus/Mars, difficulty and limitation are an important part of this picture, as well as the fundamental optimism that is another key to our current experience.

May 24th New Moon New Moon Chart
This New Moon accompanies the almost exact triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune referred to earlier. With Jupiter and Neptune in this picture, acting on Chiron, we have a tremendous impulse to take the high road in our dealing with each other, and indeed with ourselves, and to heal the wounds of the past. When we consider Chiron in action upon Jupiter and Neptune, we might find that there is a hesitation to move forward with our highest ideals for ourselves. Whatever we aspire to we can attain, except that the shadow of our doubt gets in the way. This Gemini New Moon aspects Pluto, reminding us that along with the graceful impulse toward a future that we can really live for, the road to our achievement necessarily involves deep transformation.

May 30th First Quarter Moon First Quarter Moon Chart
This First Quarter Moon once again symbolizes potential bumps in the road to actualizing our full potential, and represents a period of relative tension in our process of increasing awareness and growth. Venus is sextile to a stationing Neptune, while the Sun is quintile to Uranus, bringing the mutual reception of these two outer planets into sharper relief. Neptune together with Uranus and Jupiter indicates that the time might be ripe for the seeds of positive change to be planted.