Blog by Lynn. I’m a professional, fully qualified and certified Western astrologer (DM Astrol) as well as being a member of the Association of Professional Astrologers International. Here I’ll be explaining some of the first principles of astrology for the lesser expert readers in the hope of getting more and more people interested in the wonderful subject of astrology.
Mercury enters one of the signs that it rules on the 21st May and goes OOB at 13° of the sign on the 27th remaining in this condition until the 17th of June when it will be at 20° Cancer.
Mercury is obviously in his element here, a rational and agile thinker open to new ideas and experimentations, puns and intellectual flexibility are also part of the game although Mercury is also the prankster of the zodiac and here words could be used to alter the truth in some way!
The OOB status could make this planet very versatile indeed with great curiosity and a real talent for the acquisition of knowledge.
On the 29th and 30th there will be transiting T-square in the mutable signs formed by an opposition between Mercury and Jupiter with Neptune as apex of the square. All three planets are in their own signs with Jupiter being retrograde. Mutable signs, being so flexible, usually end up stressed and anxious when under pressure. The Mercury-Jupiter opposition by itself could make us too sure of ourselves, cocky even, as the gift of the gab leads us to exaggerate or even sloppy as we tend to think we’re better than we actually are with this aspect. The Neptune apex adds confusion and misunderstandings since being clear or putting out all the information necessary will seem an arduous task.
A little bit of history:
Mercury in the Greek myth is associated with Hermes and he held an amazing number of roles here; thief, storyteller (aka liar), trickster, magician, craftsman, messenger of the gods, the god of boundaries, commerce, merchants, words and language among the many. He was the only god who had permission to travel freely between the Underworld and the heights of Olympus.
Mercury is so versatile that he can take on any of the archetypes represented by the other planets too and in this way he is also good at making deals or compromises and the house placement of Mercury in your chart will show where you’re good at this also.
Alan Leo’s description of Mercury from his book “The Art of Synthesis”
“A considerable portion of the correct judgement of a nativity is derived from the study of Mercury, its position, aspects and progress, the tendency of the mind being easily seen from the sign which Mercury occupies a birth.”
Leo A.  1949. “Chapter VI, Mercury the thinker.” In The Art of Synthesis pp 53-65. International Publishing Company, Edinburgh, UK
Finding the answers but keeping them to ourselves.
On May 18th there will be a Full Moon at 27°39’ in the Fixed, Water sign of Scorpio on the very same day that Venus conjoins Uranus in Taurus.
The Moon’s traditional dispositor, Mars, is just inside Cancer, the sign of Mar’s fall, making this Watery sign particularly hard to navigate. Mars is approaching a sextile to unpredictable Uranus in steadfast Taurus, we might expect our emotional energy to be on a roller-coaster as moods and goals change, limiting rather than enhancing our freedom to enjoy life according to our own tastes. Pluto, the Moon’s modern dispositor, is still engaged with Saturn in Capricorn and trine Mercury in Taurus, thought processes can now be easily focussed on our internal strengths so as to concentrate on resolving any problematic tasks, at least in our heads!
The Sun is conjunct Mercury, such a tight conjunction burns the planet nearest the Sun and hides it in some way so perhaps the truth-seeking Scorpio Moon will have a place to keep its secrets safe, at least for a while. Sun’s dispositor, Venus, at home in its own sign, is separating from a conjunction to Uranus at the time of lunation, upsets and surprises in romantic or financial matters may already have surfaced but Taurus is a practical sign, it can probably find a way to sort them out.
Full Moons are also known to be times when things climax, when we decide that enough is enough for certain aspects of our life because we avert an intensified conflict between two major areas of our life and we need to find a way to honour both.
They shine a light on the area that is “hidden” and in this case, in traditional astrology, all matters concerning the 8th house and the sign of Scorpio. The axis involved is the 8th-2nd and involves questions such as: the saboteur vs the constructor, temptation vs security, emotional crisis vs calm etc. Taurus is the first Earth sign and he wants to build, Scorpio is the second Water sign and wants to destroy in the attempt to understand and regenerate.
The effect is certainly more evident when the Full Moon closely aspects any personal planets or angles in your chart (2-4° of the fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius), it also depends on the houses involved in your individual chart.
Author Raven Kaldera in his book “Moon Phase Astrology” calls this Full Moon the “Priestess’s Moon” he continues in his explanation “the Priestess has been down to the darkness and up again into the light. She has dragged herself down the path of deep introspection and learned that the best way out is with the aid of Deeper Powers” On this Full Moon he recommends spirituality and meditation and failing that to surround yourself with Nature and contemplate the beauty of it all.
I suggest that we use the light of this Full Moon to illuminate where we can create more comfort and ease in our lives relinquishing those things (or persons) that no longer make us smile. Let’s search for our own personal pot of gold by digging deep inside ourselves to find what we really need in life to feel good.
The Sabian symbol for the Moon at 28° Scorpio: “The King of the Fairies approaching his domain.” Indicating the capacity in man to recognise and to pay homage to an integrating principle at the core of all existence.
For the Sun at 28° Taurus: “A woman, past her “change of life”, experiences a new love.” Indicating man’s capacity to rise in consciousness and feelings above biological limitations.
“I thought about how there are two types of secrets: the kind you want to keep in, and the kind you don’t dare to let out.” Ally Carter
What’s peaking for you on this Full Moon? Where do you need to dig deeper?
Kaldera R. (2011) “Moon Phase Astrology” pp. 213-215, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont. USA
Rudhyar D. (1974) “An Astrological Mandala: the cycles of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases”. pp 87, 208, Vintage Books Edition, Random House Inc., New York, USA
Mars OOB until 12th June when the planet will be at 17° Cancer….when Mars is OOB we can expect the energy to be fiercer which can mean being extra courageous defending our tribe or violently angry with whoever wrongs us or ours.
On May 16th Mars, the warrior, the womanizer, the risk taker, the argumentative one, the impatient, enters the sign of Cancer, the sign of emotions, the most romantic of the whole zodiac, the sensitive one. How the heck can Mars feel at home here? In fact, Cancer is the sign of fall for the planet Mars, where he least feels welcome.
Oh, certainly, there may be some good things we can say about Mars’ stay in Cancer. He becomes imaginative and creative pursuing interests independently and ambitiously, but not directly. After all Mars is the ruler of the Cardinal sign Aries and Cancer is also a Cardinal sign but both go about taking the initiative in a very different manner. Mars could also become a caring lover in the sign of nurturing and super-protective of his tribe.
Unfortunately, however, we can say a lot more negative things about Mars in Cancer. He adds fuel to Cancer’s natural high sensitivity and moodiness becoming easily insulted and very emotional in his reactions.
Another twist could be the passive-aggressive behaviour since Mars in Cancer is unable to express anger directly preferring to go into a bad mood, sulk or worse, accuse others by playing on their feelings of guilt and thus giving them a bad conscious.
You could personally experience any of the above or you could meet these traits coming from someone else.
On a slightly different take about Mars; the late and great astrologer Ivy M. Goldstein-Jacobson postulated that the house where Mars is to be found in the natal theme is the place where we can, if necessary, adopt a “I can do without this, if I have to” attitude since Mars is the one “who cuts out”. Have you found that applicable to your Mars placement? Are you able, if not willing, to renounce to a part of the affairs of the house where your Mars is to be found at birth?
During its stay in Cancer, Mars will make the following aspects:
23rd May: sextile Uranus (4°13’) – patience may have a short string today
12th June: conjunct North Node (17°53’) – expect energy to be high and challenges easier to face
14th June: trine Neptune (18°42’) and opposite retrograde Saturn (18°59’) – energy may be scattered or you may feel tired but the Saturn R-Neptune sextile will provide a steadying influence so that some advancement could still be made
20th June: opposite retrograde Pluto (22°27’) – tempers could flare and the atmosphere could get explosive quickly…keep on your toes and don’t provoke.
Goldstein-Jacobson I.M. (1961) “Here and There in Astrology”, Notebook for Mars, pp.25-34, Pasadena Lithographers, Pasadena, Cal. USA
Venus the planet of love, comfort, finances and self-worth enters one of her home signs on the 15th of May. Taurus is a sign known for its down-to-earth practicality and love of tactile sensations. It’s a Fixed, Earth sign which is very steadfast, stubborn and unable and unwilling to accept change and for the above reasons Taurus is known as a very dependable sign always arriving at its prefixed goals with its slow and steady attitude.
Venus in Taurus is naturally seductive and sensual with a strong capacity for devotion which could lead to possessiveness and jealousy, here, the planet may also have an exaggerated need of security.
Venus will make the following aspects as it travels (rather speedily) through Taurus:
18th May conjunct Uranus (3°58’) – could be a good day for unusual encounters or even unexpected gains
20th May sextile Neptune (18°35’) – people and finances could take on a hue that it a little too rosy
31st May trine Saturn (19°45°) and Pluto (20°50’) – feeling able to transform whatever Venus represents for you into something lasting and completely new or feeling unloved or money-less as you become overwhelmed by completely new conditions.
The above transits last less than a day so the perceptions will be fleeting!
Mercury enters Taurus on the 6th May. Mercury in this Fixed, Earth sign can be associated with common sense, down-to-earth thinking and practical intelligence with an eye on security and self-worth issues. When contrasted in the natal chart, he could turn narrow-minded, stubborn, inflexible and suspicious of new ideas and theories. In all cases he takes his time to make decisions but once made they usually become irrevocable.
Mercury transits are fast. During the planet’s stay in Taurus the speed will be extra fast at 2°+ per day so the following aspects will last less than a day.
Only two days after entering Taurus, Mercury will meet up with Uranus (8th May), the planet of innovation and surprises. Expect unusual ideas to jump into your head, some practical, others not so, there may also be contrariety if others aren’t in agreement with you or vice versa, since we all have our own unique thoughts about this or that. There may be unexpected and upsetting moves too, Taurus is a fixed sign that doesn’t appreciate when things and people move too fast.
On May 15th Mercury will make a sextile to Neptune in Pisces, sextiles are considered “opportunities” so we will have the chance to stimulate our imagination but this is not the ideal aspect for clear thinking and care of detail.
On May 17th Mercury will make a flowing trine to retrograde Saturn this will help us make practical matters a priority but it could also make us reluctant to speak our mind unless the matter is very important.
The last aspect to the outer planets takes place on May 18th with the trine to retrograde Pluto, looking inside ourselves to understand things better may become an obsession for some so time alone is best today.
Taurus rules the 2nd house in traditional astrology and so it regards all things connected to our value system, not only our monetary and material comforts but also our self-esteem.
It’s time to set your intentions for the New Moon at 14°11’ Taurus that will occur on the 4th May. The Moon is exalted in this Venus-ruled, Fixed Earth sign.
Creeping up to an easy trine aspect both to retrograde Saturn and the South Lunar Node this lunation is both grounded and responsible although perhaps a little too attached to its comfort zone and self-contentment aided by the sextile to fantasy-conjuring Neptune.
Venus, the dispositor of the New Moon is probably a little out of sync in wilful Aries and also about to square Saturn and the South Lunar Node hinting that we may be conscious of not actually having all the comforts and easiness we strive for and this could cause some irritation.
Worth noting, if not directly connected to the New Moon, is OOB Mars in airy-fairy Gemini almost exactly opposite Jupiter retrograde in Sagittarius. Let’s hope that violence and thoughtless foolishness won’t have the better over well-planned and better directed energies that work both for our own good and for that of our fellows.
The New Moon falls on the 2-8th axis of the traditional zodiac (Taurus-Scorpio) which involves matters such as security vs temptation, calm vs crisis, sex vs taboos etc. It is significant for those who have planets or angles between 12-16° of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius.
So, part of our intentions for this moment might involve building things (projects, relationships or whatever) to last by creating stability in that part of our lives illuminated by this New Moon. To do this we need to listen to our body and follow our heart.
Author Raven Kaldera, in his book “Moon Phase Astrology”, calls this New Moon the “Dryads Moon”, the Dryads are the quiet, shy spirits of the trees, and he states that “this Moon phase in the earthiest of the astrological signs comes forth in a form that is as close to Nature that a human can possibly be”. He suggests that on this day we should steep ourselves in Nature by going for a walk or just sitting in the garden or park when possible.
The Sabian symbol for 15° Taurus: “Head covered with a rakish silk hat, muffled against the cold, a man braves a storm.” Indicating the courage needed to meet the crises precipitated by social ambition.
For the antiscion point at 16° Leo: “The storm ended, all nature rejoices in brilliant sunshine.” Indicating the surge of life and love after a major crisis.
“Anything that disturbs your comfort factor is good for you.” Tony La Russa
What intentions are you intending to set for this New Moon?
Kaldera R. (2011) “Moon Phase Astrology” pp. 27-30, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont. USA
Rudhyar D. (1974) “An Astrological Mandala: the cycles of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases”. pp. 80, 141, Vintage Books Edition, Random House Inc., New York, USA
Saturn will station retrograde for the second time in Capricorn on the 30th of April at 20°31’ and will station direct at 13°54’ Capricorn on the 17th of September.
At the start and at the end of each retrograde period the planet gradually slows down almost to a halt. Mainly affected by this retrograde will be those charts having planets or angles between 23-10° degrees of the Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). The antiscion point of 9°29’ Sagittarius is also noteworthy.
Capricorn is ruled by Saturn so this no-nonsense, down to business, straight-in-the-face planet is perfectly at ease here.
In this sign Saturn is a lot about redefining moral behaviour on a personal and public scale, it’s a high achiever aiming at the best and willing to work for it….providing that you are too and if you’re not, well…it could get rather grim as road blocks might appear seemingly from nowhere compelling you to change direction and face facts. The degree of success or changes necessary will obviously depend on Saturn’s natal placement and the aspect it forms with other planets and the aspects they form too, here I’m only talking generally about the planet and its energy in a pure sense.
When a planet transits through its own sign it is much stronger since it’s in the right role wearing the right costume and it’s looking and feeling good. For this reason I think that those with personal planets in Capricorn in their natal chart are being offered a fantastic opportunity to act out those planets in their true nature since the energy of that planet should be already familiar to them and they can now direct it in the best way possible…providing, of course, that this energy hasn’t been misplaced and needs reforming in some way!
For the other Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer and Libra) this may be either a very rewarding or a rather trying time…as always it depends on you to direct the energy and how the planet is placed by house and aspects in your own chart.
When Saturn turns retrograde it will slow down the normal speed of everyday things in order for us to be able to develop better procedures and tactics in our lives. Saturn provides us with the rules and regulations with which we guide ourselves, our sense of responsibility and our limits. Saturn defines boundaries, so what better time than its annual retrograde period to determine the possible from the impossible in our lives? Look to the house axis that this retrograde involves.
In fact, this is an excellent moment to assess and correct any commitments, refine any projects or consider any responsibilities undertaken in the past. Saturn retrograde gives us the opportunity to say NO to the burdens that prove too heavy for us. So during this period, re-assess past responsibilities without taking on any new ones and likewise postpone any possible long-term commitments that might come now until after the retrograde period is over because you might just realize that they are, in fact, too heavy for you.
During this retrograde you will indeed have the opportunity to renegotiate and review any past activities or commitments that have been a source of frustration for you. Say NO to others if this means a big YES to you!
The Sabian symbol for 21° Capricorn: “A relay race.” Indicating the value of competition in developing group consciousness.
For its antiscion point at 10° Sagittarius: “A theatrical representation of a golden-haired goddess of opportunity.” Indicating society’s efforts at dramatizing the greatness of what it offers to the ambitious peron.
“I have lived a long time and I have learned that one must forgive oneself the past or else the journey into the future becomes unbearable.” Kate Morton, The Clockmaker’s Daughter
Any tales about Saturn in Capricorn that you’d like to share with us?
Rudhyar D. (1974) “An Astrological Mandala: the cycles of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases”. p. 215 and 242, Vintage Books Edition, Random House Inc., New York, USA
Pluto has been in the sign of Capricorn since 2008 and this is the eleventh retrograde period since then. The planet will station retrograde at 23° 09’ on 24th April and backtrack to 20°38’ where it will station direct on 3rd October.
The retrograde period will affect those persons with planets and/or angles in the Cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn between 28°-16° (allow a 5° orb applying and a 3° separating, Pluto transits are long). Look to the house axis where Pluto is transiting in your chart for indications of the matters that will be under scrutiny during the retrograde.
Pluto is concerned with power, regeneration, survival, transformation, sex, obsession and possessiveness. Pluto is the god of the Underworld. Pluto in Capricorn (ruled by Saturn) is concerned with the deep-reaching transformation of social order, laws and hierarchies. He often works subtly (in our psyche) but always relentlessly and he can be an over-achiever, by using his power and persuasion for his own means, in this Saturn-ruled sign.
During the Pluto retrograde period, matters that were previously too painful to face may bubble up from our unconsciousness and we may have to meet these in the physical realm where we will be required to deal with them. Pluto only forces us to confront and transform that which is in dire need of change. This period may also provide us with the opportunity to find some of the latent sources of power inside ourselves allowing us to harness them in an appropriate way. Pluto shows us the reality of our limitations and even more so since it moved into Capricorn. The retrograde period is really a huge invitation to become more fully aware of the resources we hide in our inner depths. Failure to do this could lead to external events that may puzzle and/or distress us as we take on the role of victim.
In January 2020 there will be the much announced conjunction between Saturn and Pluto at 22° Capricorn. I will be writing about this nearer the time but I just wanted to say that these two planets have been conjoined by declination since December 2015 and the aspect will dissolve in August 2020 so we’ve already been experiencing this energy over the last 4 years now.
The Sabian symbol for 24° Capricorn: “a woman entering a convent.” Indicating total commitment to a transcendent goal.
For the antiscion point 7° Sagittarius: “Cupid knocks at the door of a human heart.” Indicating a stirring-up of individual longings for romantic love.
“‘Know thyself?’ If I knew myself, I’d run away.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Rudhyar D. (1974) “An Astrological Mandala: the cycles of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases”. pp 213 and 243, Vintage Books Edition, Random House Inc., New York, USA
Tierney B. (1983) “Dynamics of Aspect Analysis”, Chapter 10, Retrograde Planets, pp 249-252, CRCA Publications, Sebastopol, CA, USA
We all know about Solar Return charts, that precise moment in time when the Sun returns to its natal position in our birth chart. Lots of us pull up this type of chart every year in one of the three variants: Solar Return chart for our natal place of birth, Solar Return chart for a different locality than that of birth – because we’ve located to another place or because we’ve decided to spend our birthday in a different location and then there is the Precessed Solar Return chart which takes into account the natural pregression of the equinoxes and the consequent difference in planetary degrees in the natal chart (approx. 1° backwards every 72 years).
Return charts however can be erected for any planet as it returns to its natal position.
Moon or Lunar return occurs every lunar month and show us where our emotional energy will be employed during that particular month. Due to its short duration the Lunar return reveals minor phases of life experience.
Mercury return is approx. one year and never far away from the date of the annual Solar return and indicates where our intellectual energy, mainly our thinking and decision-making processes, will be at play over that period.
Venus return is also approx. one year and indicates where our romantic, social contacts and financial strengths will be.
Mars return happens approx. every two years and we can get an idea of where our energy based on our personal initiative will be prevalently concentrated during that time.
Jupiter return occurs every 12 years and is an excellent way to see in which area of our chart we can push ahead.
Saturn return (the buzz killer for most) and the one which few of us actually erect as a chart, preferring to guess at what might happen, thinking that it will be limited to the length of time of the actual transit over natal Saturn. This chart shows us where we have to discipline ourselves and organise our lives over the coming 28-29 years approx.
How to read a return chart (Basic rules)
Firstly we must look to the position of the return planet, especially its house placement (revealing the area where the energy will be most experienced together with the house or houses that particular planet rules) and the aspects if makes or receives. Then we should look to the angles to determine their modality (Cardinal – action oriented, Fixed – less inclined to change – Mutable – flexible). Also note if the degrees and signs of the angles mirror in any way the natal chart since that would indicate a very notable and important period for the duration of the return. Next, look to see if any planets are conjunct the angles and give them priority (together with any aspects they might make or receive). Taking into account the aforesaid factors then the chart should be interpreted as if it were a natal chart. Secondly confront the return chart with the natal chart, looking for any similarities, planetary degrees, house placements, planetary aspects that might be mirrored in the return chart – for example: a Moon-Saturn square in the natal chart showing up as a Moon-Saturn trine or sextile in the return chart indicates that the natal aspect will be “softened” in some way and more easy to manage, likewise an opposition might indicate that extra work needs to be done with these energies. The energies indicated by the return chart are however to be considered “less effective or forceful” than those in the natal since the return chart has a determined duration in time.
Using the ephemeris to time by date (progressing) the transiting return planet to the points (planets and angles) in the return chart will provide you with dates and give you an idea as to when to expect certain positive or adverse energies and from which sectors of life to expect them.
As well as pulling up the current return chart for any planet, you could also pull up the precedent one (except for Saturn unless you’ve already had your second Saturn return) so as to verify life events with the return charts.
If anyone would like to know more about return charts then please see the bibliography below for suggested reading.
Shea M. (1998), “Planets in Solar Returns”, Twin Stars Unlimited, Mary Fortier Shea, Clinton CT USA
Stubbs J. and Kirby B.  2001 “Interpreting Solar and Lunar Returns” Capall Bann Publishing, Chievely, Berks, UK
Teal C.  2009, “Identifying Planetary Triggers” Llewellyn Publications. Woodbury, Minnesota USA
Forget those sweet words and dreamy thoughts now it’s time to defend our views and follow through with our plans in a “no holds barred” manner.
Mercury in Aries just loves to talk and discuss, usually being over-concerned with himself and his views and easily getting combative and argumentative so don’t let temper and sarcasm interfere with common sense and politeness!