It’s the end of the month. And here I am, sitting in a coffee shop, contemplating the nature of the Universe.

As astrologers, we attempt to translate the patterns in the sky into meaningful words and images.  I say attempt, because once you’ve been doing it a while, you humbly realize that any words you choose merely suggest meaning.

The sky may be Mars-ing, or Jupiter-ing… But what that means for you is a matter for your contemplation.

As I write, you’re merely eavesdropping for a moment on my contemplation of the cosmic story unfolding. Take from it what you will.

A Time to Reflect

There’s much to contemplate this month.  As May begins, five of our eight planetary actors are traveling “retrograde” — that’s contrary to their usual apparent motion.  That’s a strong suggestion to slow down and reflect on what we are doing, and how we do it.

It may be heaven for the introverted, self-reflective types, or a source of frustration for those who just want to get on with it. But we all have our introverted and extroverted bits.

The Universe strives for balance. It’s our job to embrace both sides of our natures.

Where you have overdone things, it’s also time to find balance.  If you’ve felt compelled to check who’s responded to you every 10 minutes, take a break from social media. If your mind jumps from one shiny object to another, learn to meditate. If you’ve been chained to your desk, take long walks in the woods. If you’ve been sleep-deprived binge watching, sleep more.

What exactly needs balancing in your life, is your call.

Transcending Change

There are also two major, interlocking aspect patterns in alignment most of the month.

One is what astrologers call a “Mutable T-square,” featuring Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces. Squares challenge us; mutable signs evoke the theme of how we cope with change.

The other aspect astrologers call a “Grand Earth Trine.” Trines suggest an easy and supportive flow between planets; Earth signs focus our attention on the pragmatic and sensual side of life. The Grand Earth trine also features Jupiter in Virgo, but this time with Pluto in Capricorn, and (at various days through the month) the Sun, Venus, and Mercury in Taurus

So what do these patterns have in common?

Jupiter in Virgo is in both aspects, so we can look to him for clues. As if to underscore his importance in the celestial drama, he’s also the first planet of the five to end his retrograde; he turns direct on May 9.

He pauses to whisper: “How will you make room for the transcendent amidst everyday life?”

Embracing Imperfection

The 19th century Philosopher, Poet and Essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson tackled this very question through his own writing.

Considered one of the “American Transcendentalists” he asserted that through contemplation of one’s relationship to the natural world, one could encounter one’s own spiritual essence.

(And, since astrology is what it is, of course Emerson was born when Jupiter was in Virgo.)

In fact, Emerson’s own words could be used to sum up the theme of the astrological aspects for May:

“The soul gives itself, alone, original and pure, to the Lonely, Original and Pure… It calls the light its own, and feels that the grass grows and the stone falls by a law inferior to, and dependent on, its nature.

“Behold, it saith, “I am born into the great, the universal mind. I, the imperfect, adore my own Perfect.”

“I am somehow receptive of the great soul, and thereby I do Overlook the sun and the stars and feel them to be the fair accidents and effects which change and pass.”

Can you be in the world, and rejoice in it? And can you also recognize that what you experience is just the shadow cast by a deeper reality?

A New Moon in Taurus on May 6 underscores these monthly themes.

Taurus’ gift is a deep appreciation of the beauty of nature, coupled with the patience that all things happen when the time is right. The Taurus New Moon reminds us that we don’t always have to push quite so hard to make things happen.

(To quote Emerson again: “The things that are really for thee gravitate to thee.“)

To be Continued…

As we move toward the end of the month, the Grand Earth Trine gives way to yet another aspect pattern, a “Mutable Grand Cross,” giving more urgency (or frustration) to a need for change.

The Full Moon in Sagittarius on May 21 conjoins the planet Mars, exactly at the height of the Mars retrograde. It’s ruling planet is also Jupiter in Virgo; Virgo’s ruler Mercury is also stationing direct.

In short, prepare for an especially intense Full Moon, especially if you have planets in the mutable signs Sagittarius, Gemini, Virgo or Pisces. Be still and allow yourself to be remade from the inside out.

The story is never ends. The Mutable Grand Cross continues into next month.

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