Astrology of May 2011
by Henry Seltzer (
« Back   [P] Print All

The Astrology of May focuses still on a potent Aries line-up, this time with the New Moon in the next sign of Taurus. Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are also still very much highlighted. The start of this month represents a slightly different emphasis than with the very strong New Moon at the beginning of April, some thirty days ago, and could be conceived as a follow-up to that powerful initiatory energy, since Aries and Taurus are both involved. The emphasis remains on initiative, represented most significantly by Mars conjunct Jupiter in fiery Aries, plus Uranus in Aries in aspect to the Sun and Moon.

It is also quite significant that Saturn in Libra, on the opposite side of the Zodiac from Uranus, Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, is getting to earlier and earlier degrees of that sign, and therefore coming into closer square with Pluto in early Capricorn. We have this spring and summer a final run of the contentious Saturn-Pluto square – a configuration of polarization that astrologer Richard Tarnas has termed "conservative empowerment." The last gasp of this important configuration is closest over the next two months, and is definitely significant as can clearly be seen in the polarization between liberal and conservative forces both in the area of national politics and across the globe. This dynamic and tense aspect exhibits an angular distance of only about 4 degrees through June, widening to a bit more in July and August and fading away after that.

Meanwhile, in another echo of the revolutionary note that sounded so resonantly in the sixties, the Uranus-Pluto square becomes closer and closer over these same summer months, leading up to about 1 degree of separation in August. Uranus and Pluto separate slightly over the end of 2011, then make their first exact hit in June of 2012. They are indeed very close now and a definite factor in the angst and the glorious revolutionary quality of these difficult days of the spring of 2011. Years ago, astrologers were led to remark that in these climactic years of the lead-up to the first exact pass in 2012 there would be people out in the streets in protest to social and economic conditions, with massive changes in store long before this decade of the "turbulent teens" is over. This is a prediction that is already beginning to come true, as can be seen with the recent mass unrest in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East, as well as with the public protest over collective bargaining in Madison, Wisconsin – a protest that is far from over.

The Taurus New Moon that begins the month represents another dynamic configuration in a series of powerful lunations. Neptune, newly entered into Pisces and therefore emphasized, is also closely aspected by this New Moon, meaning that idealism, fantasy and illusion are all strongly constellated while the dire conditions heralded by the Uranus-Pluto-Saturn T-square also continue to play themselves out. Deception and manipulation of the truth to serve political ends is one way that this energy can manifest, although self-delusion is another, which is one mechanism of denial. It is up to our intuition – also strong within us right now – to separate truth from illusion. Mercury is also powerful over the first half of the month as it regains its Zodiacal longitude, emerging from its retrograde shadow by the 11th. The stellium in Aries is active right up to the 15th, two days before the Scorpio Full Moon. The last half of May is quieter, a time for thoughtful follow-up and course correction based on the startling information coming our way over these significant first two weeks.

All in all, this is an extremely dramatic monthly cycle, especially in its first half, and an important lead-up to the dramatic changes still to come over the summer.

May 2nd New Moon New Moon Chart
This New Moon takes place quite late in the evening - almost midnight on the West Coast and three hours later, or 2:50 AM, on the East coast. This is another in a series of intense lunations that are carrying us forward into the time of the powerful outer planet configurations of the late spring and summer. This New Moon signals an extremely mystical and joyful time, with also serious overtones and the possibility of contention as we move through it. The New Moon is exactly quintile to Neptune, and inconjunct Saturn, bringing these important planetary energies into the picture. Saturn, planet of limitations and slowing down – also seriousness of purpose – remains emphasized across the zodiac from all the other planets, and even stronger at the time of this New Moon. Neptune, newly entered into Pisces and in aspect to Uranus, is also super potent right now, and bespeaks a spiritualizing influence that can also be confusing.

The Aries stellium continues to be a factor. Mars and Jupiter are momentarily together, in the 23rd and 24th degrees of Aries, before Mars moves on. The Sabian symbols are "A woman in pastel colors carrying a heavy and valuable but veiled load" and "An open window with a net curtain blowing into a cornucopia" so this conjunction is also spiritually oriented and speaks to us of cultural value added. With Mars amped up by Jupiter we have the opportunity to assert ourselves exuberantly in the direction that we feel best serves our higher purpose. We could also descend into aggression or squabbling. The choice is ours.

Venus and Mercury, also conjunct, a few degrees away at the 15th and 17th degrees of Aries, remain in close contact with each other over the next two weeks or more, until well after the Libra Full Moon of the 17th. They enter Taurus jointly on the 16th, staying together over all this time, since Mercury is still picking up speed from its recent retrograde. Venus with Mercury encourages an aesthetic that is also mental, the joy of number games and graphic art - or digital art of all kinds. With Jupiter nearby, these qualities are more and more greatly emphasized over the next ten days or so.

Uranus in the early degrees of Aries remains in aspect to Neptune, and is also getting closer this month to its square with Pluto, well within orb by early summer. These powerhouse planets are taking us quite rapidly into a transformed world-view that will pave the way for the more massive societal changes ahead in 2012 – 2020. We can each do our part by remaining as conscious as possible and following the true direction of our hearts.

May 10th First Quarter Moon First Quarter Moon Chart
This vibrant and exciting lunar phase follows the powerful New Moon of last week and continues to emphasize both Uranus and Jupiter on the one hand, leading us forward, and also – at the very same time – the contrary factor of Saturn sitting disgruntled in Libra and in some ways holding us back. This is the phase when the rubber meets the road as far as getting on with it; and when we can clearly see the pitfalls as well as the positive side of our journeying. Mercury has finally for all intents and purposes come across the high-water mark of its previous Zodiacal longitude, officially escaping from its retrograde shadow on the date of Wednesday, May 11th. We are in fact in the midst of a long-running Mercury-Venus conjunction that moves together into Taurus on the 16th, the day before the Full Moon, so that our thoughts are vibrantly alive and productive now, and beneficial for the planet as well as for ourselves.

Still, Saturn is tugging at our heels and in aspect to the North Node and Chiron, suggesting that some painful places exist deep within our psyches that are extremely difficult to root out, while the rewards are great for doing so. We all just need to keep our focus on the biggest possible picture and move forward with our lives as though we valued them and ourselves as well. Sometimes it is necessary to turn within – and indeed to turn off the TV – in order to achieve this kind of inner peace but it is available to us now if we only make the gesture toward it.

May 17th Full Moon Full Moon Chart
The energy of this Scorpio Full Moon, taking place on Tuesday morning, May 17th, is somewhat frustrating, definitely transformational, and also deeply magical, taking us into the depths within ourselves and back out again. Relationships may be seen in an entirely new light, the healing light of Spirit operating throughout the world and through us individually. We can find this story within the planetary patterns of this powerful lunation because while the Sun and three of the other four personal planets, namely Venus, Mercury and Mars, reside in sensual Taurus, with the Moon opposed to the Sun in mysterious Scorpio, there is also lots of Saturn and Neptune energy invoked, taking us into a practical yet mystical realm. Practical considerations tug at us, since the Sun and Moon closely aspect Saturn in Libra, the relationship sign. Saturn is still apart and across the Zodiac from nearly all the rest of the planets and therefore stronger. The Sun is also parallel Pluto, so that a sense of conservative backlash is still with us both internally and politically. Meanwhile Venus, ruler of Libra and newly entered into Taurus, is conjunct Mercury and Mars in early Taurus and both Venus and Mars form parallel aspects to Neptune. Taken in total, this configuration is a rare witch's brew that breeds joy and also confusion, delusion and uncertainty, perhaps a sense of fated inevitability, to the relationship energy that we have for others.

We can use this intensity to good advantage by taking a break from ordinary thinking. This is a time for seeing the world around us and our relationships within it in an entirely new way, one that attempts no judgment and holds no regrets, accepting the moment and all its implications as something to flow with rather than struggle against. Witter Bynner puts it so eloquently in his translation the Tao Te Ching: "the sanest man sets up no deed, lays down no law, takes everything that happens as it comes; as something to animate not to appropriate, to earn, not to own."

May 24th Last Quarter Moon Last Quarter Moon Chart
The Last Quarter of this dynamic lunation sequence from the beginning of the month, taking place on Tuesday, May 24th, is very interesting in its symbolism. As the Moon in Pisces squares the Sun newly entered into Gemini, it conjuncts both Neptune and Chiron. These two spiritual planets symbolize respectively a compassionate sense of divinity with the potential for heaven to blossom upon the earth, and the wound of separation from that sense of divinity. Chiron is called “the wounded healer” because it points the way to where we have suffered in the past and have a chance to heal in the present moment. Neptune and Chiron have been in conjunction with each other for over two years now, and their joining in these climactic times represents the pain of separation from the concept of oneness for all mankind that we can sometimes glimpse but rarely see fulfilled. The ideal of a life truly based on compassion is hardly ever realized either in individuals or in world affairs. These planets are currently separated by a mere 4 ½ degrees with the Moon standing directly between them, near their midpoint. Uranus in Aries is also brought directly into the planetary picture by the aspect that it in turn makes to the Sun, Moon and Neptune. The entire configuration reminds us that, as Paul Simon once expressed it so eloquently, "the mother and child reunion is only a motion away.”
So we have before us now the ideal of what life on this beleaguered planet could be like – truly a heaven spread upon the earth – together with the painful reality that also confronts us so drastically at this time that we are perhaps further than ever from achieving it; as a civilization, and in our individual lives as well. The Last Quarter Moon is a time when we gather the accumulated wisdom for what did and did not work out over the past three weeks, with the idea of making a better try next time around. It looks like this particular phase might be especially poignant in that regard. Still we must remain ever hopeful and optimistic that if we can only completely surrender to it, then Love will indeed find a way.