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My regular written column will return next week! In the meantime, have a cup of coffee with me while I give a quick audio recap of the week ahead.

The post Highlights for May 20-26, 2019: Audio version! appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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I

‘ve been running at full speed for ages. Last week, I took off on a road trip that included lectures in several cities. Getting ready for the trip was so stressful I was losing hair that my post-menopausal self can ill afford to lose.

And then, hours after finishing my first two events, a call came from home. Our dear old one-eyed, diabetic cat was being rushed to the emergency pet hospital and was desperately ill. By the next afternoon, we’d made the six-hour drive home.

And my back was killing me.

I took the hint and crawled into bed. In between calls from veterinarians, there has been a lot of napping, reading, and mindless Netflix binging. Two days later, I’ve yet to unpack the carefully organized suitcases. My schedule, carefully cleared for the trip, remains empty. And aside from worrying about the cat, it’s been wonderful.

I hadn’t just been working hard—I’d let work take over my life. Without it, a lot of empty space has opened up in my days. It’s been instructive, observing what has rushed in to fill it. Crushing weariness. A certain low-level melancholy. Insecurity. Snacking. Long sessions of vacant staring.

For awhile, my work has been feeling juiceless and labored. I knew why, even as I worked long, chaotic days. When you’re not living your life, you have nothing interesting to bring to your work. You’re a husk and a shell, dusty byproducts of grain that’s been harvested, soil that is depleted.

What used to fuel my creativity was time—hours of unstructured, unproductive time. I’d spend it lying on my stomach, filling notebooks with idle dreams and scribbled wishes for my future life. Some of those dreams and wishes eventually came startlingly and specifically true. All of this was long before I knew even the little I know now about magic and ritual. I thought it was all just daydreaming. I didn’t appreciate the gravitational pull of imagination.

The Sun in Taurus has made this the perfect season for languor. I’ve given myself over to it, completely, unwinding and opening up. Approaching the Full Moon in soulful, fecund, alchemical Scorpio, I long to summon new magic.

B

ut the tiredness is something like soul-sickness, and sleep is a siren calling me farther and farther from shore. Scorpio and Pluto are the names astrologers give to the death of the ego and the wisdom of voluntarily surrendering an outmoded identity. “Who would you be if you stopped being what you are?” Scorpio whispers. I have no idea how to answer that for myself. I do know that the only way to begin to find the answer is to make space for the question.

It’s tempting to think that the answer is a new city, travel, even a new career; Venus and Mars in aspect to Uranus at this Full Moon signals a big shake-up. But Taurus and Scorpio remain firmly planted on the ground, and it’s here that this Full Moon’s struggle must be resolved. Running away and embracing new frontiers is alluring, but the spirit of adventure can’t get us very far without the Taurus/Scorpio fuel of physical stamina and soulful passion.

So these are what we need to conjure, and I think I know how. If we can find the nerve, we have to empty our cups of their last drops. We may not know where the next drink will come from, but we know that this one came from a tainted well. Only when the cup is empty can we hold it out to the universe and ask, with the bowed head of a supplicant, “Fill this, please.”

It is the Taurus season of idleness and plenty. The urge is to ask for even more beauty, more pleasure, more prosperity. But until we have successfully navigated Scorpio’s portal, asking for more is like going shopping when our arms are too full of garbage bags to carry new purchases.

So, take the garbage to the curb. Tip the last drop from the cup. Give up the thing that isn’t bringing you joy. Let yourself be empty, and let your heartbeat resonate within the cavernous space that opens up. Something new is coming. Make your life ready for it. Then unleash your imagination, and summon it.

© 2015-2019 April Elliott Kent. All rights reserved

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The post Scorpio Full Moon: Thirsty for Magic appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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Beyond the familiar Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone. Click them to see the date and time where you are.
Cleaning house

A

n aspect between the Sun and Pluto always sounds a bit ominous, but at least the one that begins this week is a trine. Pluto always speaks of releasing what isn’t viable and what isn’t working in your life, whether or not you’re ready to let it go. The Sun trine Pluto (May 13, 8:07 pm) sets up the idea of housecleaning – deep, emotional cleaning – that, having been taken care of, makes it easier to set your house in order.

It’s easy to forget that the Moon’s First Quarter Phase – which begins with the conflict and crisis of the Moon’s opening square to the Sun – always eventually resolves to a trine. This week, the Moon in Virgo trines the Sun in Taurus (May 14, 0:29 am PDT). The energy of last week’s First Quarter phase is still present – we must do or die – but the trine to the Sun suggests that the wind is at our backs, at least. A First Quarter Moon in Virgo favors practical action in the service of goals related to security and life’s simple pleasures (Sun in Taurus). Particularly with energetic Mars entering Cancer (May 15, 8:09 pm), this is a good time to clean your house to make it more pleasant. Update your passwords to keep your systems more secure. Catch up on financial paperwork.

None of this sounds very sexy. But one secret to real luxury, wealth, and stability lies in the details of daily life – organizing things in such a way that they can be easily retrieved, that bills are paid on time with no late penalties, that you don’t run out of cream for the morning coffee. This week, look deep – then expend energy in the direction of small things, and watch your life improve accordingly.

Enter the unexpected

U

sually, we wouldn’t get too excited about a sextile. It’s a nice aspect (one of my favorites), but it tends to signify opportunity rather than crisis (like a square), enlightenment (like an opposition), or serendipity (like a trine). This week’s sextile between Venus and Mars (May 14, 6:58 am PDT) is noteworthy, though, because it comes just before Venus enters its ruling sign, Taurus (May 15, 2:46 am) and makes its annual conjunction to Uranus (May 18, 9:17 am PDT). And Venus at the sextile is actually very close to the degree of last year’s Venus/Uranus conjunction in late Aries.

All of this combines to paint a picture in my imagination – of the opportunity to get to know someone a little better, maybe someone you met a long time ago but who, at the time, didn’t make that compelling of an impression. And now, if you make the effort to connect, there is the possibility of it really paying off, with that electrifying feeling of having met someone who could change your life.

Now, this may literally be the case for you, or it might not. But pay attention this week to offers and introductions, particularly those involving romance or financial opportunities. They won’t all be winners, but Venus – strong in her own sign, Taurus – coming together with unpredictable Uranus can always bring something interesting and unexpected. Not always positive, however; unlikely expenses areas possible as windfalls.

Expanding the domain

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he Sabian Symbol for the degree of this Full Moon (May 18, 2:11 pm) is one of my favorites: 28 Scorpio, The king of the fairies approaches his domain. He’s the king, all right, but his kingdom is an ethereal and insubstantial one. As he enters it, perhaps after a time spent amongst those who roll their eyes and snicker behind his back, he must feel such comfort, such a restoration of morale.

I make my living in a profession that most people don’t take too seriously. It’s rough for someone like me, with Saturn in serious Capricorn and a handful of Virgo planets, to realize that even if I were at the very top of my profession I’d still get eyerolls at a cocktail party when someone asks me what I do for a living.

But the only way to expand one’s “kingdom” is to step out of the comfort zone and risk the eyerolls and indifference of strangers. The Sun’s Sabian Symbol at the Full Moon is, A woman pursued by mature romance– a reminder that it’s never too late to have a grand passion, whether romantic or otherwise. But it is more likely to find you if you step out beyond the familiar.

©2019  April Elliott Kent

Do you enjoy my work?

Please consider making a donation to Big Sky Astrology!

The post Highlights for May 13-19, 2019: Beyond the Familiar appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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A Powerful Woman Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone. Click them to see the date and time where you are.
Don’t diss the diva

I

t’s easy to dismiss Venus as a planetary lightweight, an inconsequential party girl eating bon-bons and wearing a fluffy boa. But consider this: the goddess of desire stands alone as the only one of the conventional planetary archetypes that’s feminine (the Moon is technically a luminary). If you doubt her power, consider how many of the decisions in our lives originate from her domain: desire – whether for love, for pleasure, for money, or for social acceptance.

So while we’ve been giving a certain amount of virtual ink to Saturn and Pluto in recent weeks, as well we should, this week it’s Venus who commands our respect and dispels stagnant energy. She begins the week with a motivating square to the Lunar Nodes (May 6, 2019, 11:10 am PDT), on the Sabian Symbol Feeding birds in winter. The Capricorn South Node certainly could represent Winter, and the North Node in Cancer symbolizes feeding the helpless. But what is the catalyst for seeing to it that the helpless are rescued? Enter the amazon goddess, Venus, in Aries, the sign of action and of valor. While we might otherwise stand around in paralysis in an emergency, overcome by all that needs to be done, Venus simply commands, “See that they are fed!” We ignore her at our peril.

Venus will square Saturn (May 7, 6:26 am PDT) and Pluto (May 9, 10:20 am PDT) this week, too.  Fittingly, the street outside our house has been torn apart by the water department to replace old pipes. It’s been noisy, dirty, and disruptive, but it’s necessary in order to get rid of that crummy, obsolete old infrastructure. This is happening on a psychological level too, of course. And Venus in Aries doesn’t mind cracking a few eggs to make an omelet. She’s impatient with gridlock and refuses to play manipulative games. “What is it you want?” she demands, and when we venture a hesitant answer, she snaps, “Well then, go to it!” And when we complain that it’s impossible, she rolls her eyes and snaps her fingers. “It’s only impossible if you don’t try.”

And that brings us to the week’s loveliest aspect, Venus’ trine to Jupiter (May 9, 9:55 am PDT). Venus makes the aspect at 24 Aries, one of my favorite Sabian Symbol degrees: An open window and a net curtain blowing into cornucopia,  with Jupiter on 24 Sagittarius, A bluebird standing at the door of the house. Even in the midst of major disruption, we should be able to make something lovely from a passionate warrior goddess embracing the king of the gods, alongside an open window, a bluebird, and a cornucopia.

Slow down, you move too fast

M

ercury enters Taurus this week (May 6, 11:25 am PDT), and immediately begins its conjunction with Uranus (May 8, 7:22 am PDT). Mercury in Taurus favors a certain laconic style of communicating, absorbs knowledge kinesthetically, and prefers to ruminate on ideas before making a decision. But Uranus is fond of pulling the rug out from under us and throwing surprises our way, surprises that Mercury in Taurus may find unsettling. So this may feel a bit like a Mercury retrograde week—especially the early part—with unexpected technological snafus and delays. This will feel particularly vexing if you’re in a hurry, tightly scheduled…or working too hard to bring the wrong ideas to fruition.

The decisive passage

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ompared to Mercury and Venus, the Sun in Taurus is relaxed this week, in easy aspect to Neptune (a sextile on May 8, 7:52 pm PDT), the North Node (sextile on May 9, 11:41 pm PDT), and Saturn (a trine on May 11, 2:19 am PDT).  That last aspect is perhaps most significant. It’s at 20.30 Taurus, on the Sabian Symbol A finger pointing in an open book. At last, vitality and charisma align with purpose and discipline; the finger points to a decisive passage – “here is the answer, the way forward.” So perhaps while Taurus remains easygoing, its ruler Venus in fiery and insistent Aries—with all its motivating aspects—is keeping him from getting too stuck. Taurus takes its time with things, sometimes so much time that it stalls out and loses momentum; but not when its ruling planet is in Aries. Where we’re been stuck, we break the impasse this week. Resolutions are made. And behind the scenes, the amazon goddess takes a moment to smile before she dashes off to her next battle.

©2019  April Elliott Kent

Do you enjoy my work?

Please consider making a donation to Big Sky Astrology!

The post Highlights May 6-12, 2019: A Powerful Woman appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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W

hen I was a kid, I always had a long list of things I wanted — but I rarely had any money with which to buy them. I spent hours roaming stores, coveting record albums, fancy stationery, crazy shoes, and astrology books. My Christmas lists were rambling and detailed; they practically had footnotes. I wanted. I yearned.

These days I often find myself with the opposite problem: a handful of disposable cash, and no earthly idea of what to spend it on. It’s not a real problem, I realize—or at least, not one that any tactful person would admit to in the current economic climate. But mind you, we’re not talking about huge sums of money. We’re talking about a stray $20, maybe a $50 windfall.

Whereas when I was ten, fourteen, twenty-five I could have rattled off a dozen items that money might buy, today I’m at a loss. I think of buying some trinket for the house, or a book, and immediately I think, “Oh Lord, we’ve got so much clutter as it is, and this funky old house with no storage.” So maybe I take my husband out to lunch instead. But it’s the dearth of desire that has puzzled me; a sort of anesthetic brought about by years of financial uncertainty and black-belt frugality. Perhaps, I thought, I simply no longer know what pleases me. Perhaps I’ve lost the reflexes for enjoyment of the physical world.

I

was born with Saturn, the lord of restraint, in the second house of my chart—the house of money, property, and the good life, one of the houses of Venus. Not surprisingly, I come from a challenging background, financially speaking; I’ve always had a lot of fear about money, and strangely enough, the current economic crisis makes me feel… not validated, exactly, but less alone in these fears. Not that my anxiety taught me to be responsible with my money; that I can only ascribe to some happy synergistic miracle between my husband and me, because we both were financially “born again” when we got married, leaving behind our habits of profligate spending and debt. It seems that once I found Venus in a relationship, I no longer needed to seek her in shoes or fancy bed linens.

But the coming New Moon in pleasure-loving Taurus (May 4, 2019, 3:48 pm PDT), and Venus’ square to Saturn, had me thinking that perhaps I’ve taken my fiscal caution a little too far. Prosperity depends on money circulating, and so like a dutiful bee I’ve been pollinating our neighborhood businesses—paying a little extra for things at the local small grocery instead of going to the big-box chain store, shopping for birthday gifts at the weird boutiques on our main street. We’re donating to charities and hiring people to do things we’d normally do for ourselves (change the car’s oil, prepare our taxes). But beyond the ingredients for daily life, it’s often difficult to think of anything that I want. In a culture that’s steeped in consumerism, I feel like an oddity.

I

began to wonder whether my poor little Venus was undernourished, withering on the vine from neglect. Then one Saturday morning, when the weather turned unseasonably hot, we brewed our coffee, bought some pastries, and headed over to the park with our camp chairs for a picnic breakfast. Sitting with my husband in one of our city’s most beautiful places, breathing fresh air and watching the squirrels, the joggers, and the vivid spring flowers, and drinking excellent coffee, I suddenly realized that I know exactly what pleases me. I felt delighted, happy, and exceedingly wealthy—and all it cost was a few bucks.

Years ago, at a perilous moment in our nation’s history, President Roosevelt spoke of four fundamental freedoms humans everywhere in the world ought to enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want. I count myself blessed to have a roof over my head, food on the table, and an income; I’m all too aware that these things make me richer than many, many people. And as long as I have these basics and can enjoy beloved companionship and natural beauty, I find that I want for nothing, and that my Venus feels just fine, thanks.

New Moon blessings to one and all, and the hope that we all may enjoy freedom from fear and from want—and the occasional good cup of coffee.

© 2008-2019 April Elliott Kent. All rights reserved

The post Taurus New Moon: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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Dynasty

W

hen Jonny and I first moved to San Diego, we rented a house about 100 feet from a tiny, modest Mexican restaurant called Ponce’s. Since 1969, Ponce Meza Sr. had built a solid neighborhood business, serving excellent food at a good price, and it gradually became our second home. When Ponce retired in 2000, more than a full Saturn cycle after founding his restaurant, his children took over the family business; and although we’d watched Ponce Jr. and Rocio grow up, we were a little nervous. But we needn’t have been, because they’ve transformed our favorite restaurant into a powerhouse, first expanding the original restaurant (including a full bar), then opening a sister restaurant in Portland, and last year opening a second location of Ponce’s. And they’ve done it all without sacrificing the quality of their signature enchiladas.

In astrology, the day-to-day operation of a business falls under the purview of Mercury, the merchant. But when we’re talking about a dynasty – such as a family business that extends across generations – we are definitely talking about Saturn, because that’s a planet that’s in it for the long haul. Saturn moving through Capricorn, as it has been for the past year, generally emphasizes individual achievement; but this week, Saturn turns retrograde (April 29, 5:54 pm PDT) and conjoins the Moon’s South Node (April 30, 1:22 pm PDT) at 21 Capricorn, on the Sabian Symbol A relay race. Capricorn is a sign of great ambition, and Saturn in this sign often points to accomplishing things on an individual level. There’s no question that some individuals do accomplish astonishing things in a single lifetime. But to build something that lives on after the founder has moved on is a lot trickier. It means being willing to pass the baton to someone who shares your values and vision, and being fortunate enough to have someone to pass it to.

This week, think about what you’re holding on to that would better be passed on to another runner. Sometimes, we run out of energy or ideas to take something to the next step; sometimes, we just run out of time. But if you’ve had a hand in building something worthwhile, something you love, you owe it to that thing to pass it on to someone who can give it their all.

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peaking of Mercury, there are plenty of balls to juggle this week in area of day-to-day work, too. Mercury is fast-moving, impatient, and brash in Aries, and that doesn’t always endear us to authorities (as it squares Saturn on May 1, 1:50 am PDT) and those in power (square Pluto on May 2, 2:49 pm PDT). With Mercury trine Jupiter (May 2, 8:59 pm PDT), your ideas may be very good, but that won’t matter if you’re antagonizing the very people who are in a position to help you bring them to life. Instead, let Saturn and Pluto help you temper your impatience and curb your sassier impulses. Nice try, Venus

L

ast week we left our car to be serviced, and the dealership very cannily loaned us a spiffy new car for the day. We love our little car, and it’s fully paid for; but it is getting on in years and lacks some of the newest, flashiest features, all of which the new car had in spades. The last thing we want is a car payment, yet it was all we could do to pry our hands off that flashy automobile at the end of the day.

The New Moon at 14.11 Taurus (May 4, 3:46 pm PDT) makes good aspects to the rest of the sky… but its ruling planet, Venus – goddess of money and irresistible objects – is square Saturn and Pluto. So on the face of it, things are fine and running smoothly. But under the surface, there is a bubbling, roiling tension. Venus in Aries is impulsive, and it wants what it wants when it wants it; it’s currently sextile Mars in Gemini, so it’s basically being egged on by Mars to do crazy things like buy a new car when the current one is running fine and paid for. But fortunately (if frustratingly), Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn are urging restraint and making do with what we’ve got. So Pepé the Wonder Mazda – with its fresh oil and rotated tires – will ferry us on our upcoming road trip to Arizona and New Mexico. And our savings account will stay in good shape a little while longer. Nice try, though, Venus.

Stepping out onto the ice

As long as you don’t let Venus carry you away, this is a week when even the smallest step in the direction of a cherished wish will be rewarded (if only in personal satisfaction), as Mars opposes Jupiter (May 5, 2:57 pm PDT). Start with a single step toward something you’ve long wanted to do, and expect to feel nervous. Mars makes the opposition on the Sabian Symbol degree, Children skating on ice, opposed to Jupiter on A bluebird standing at the door of the house.  Even if you’re excited about trying something new – and even if the bluebird of happiness promises great things – the first step out onto an icy pond is both exhilarating and scary. Will you fall through some weak ice? Will you land on your butt? There are no guarantees… but when Jupiter is involved, that’s exactly what’s so exciting! The outcome is less important than the thrill of trying something new, something you’re not entirely sure will succeed.

©2019  April Elliott Kent
Featured in my online shop…

The post Highlights for April 29 – May 5, 2019 appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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Come Sit Next to Me Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone. Click them to see the date and time where you are.
Coming in from the cold

I

was a lowly high school junior – a chubby geek in overalls – when Julie, our school’s homecoming queen and quintessential southern California golden girl, asked me for a favor. She wanted to choose a guitar, and she knew I played; would I go to the swap meet with her and help her pick one out?

I don’t remember much about that outing. I think I did pick out a decent little acoustic six-string for her. Mostly, I remember that Julie, whose popularity could have turned another kind of girl into a malicious shrew, was instead a warm and authentically nice person. She and I were never close, but half a Uranus cycle later, I remember her with fondness. She was a lovely, incandescent Sun to my ungainly, Uranian misfit; on the day we spent a little time together, I felt I’d been let in from the cold.

So, there’s a snapshot for this week’s annual Sun/Uranus conjunction (April 22, 4:05 pm PDT). If your light is a bright one, let it warm someone who has a hard time feeling part of things. And if you’re the wayward geek who doesn’t fit in, this could be the day you receive a gift of acceptance from a most unexpected source.

Sitting Shiva with Pluto

Pluto is retrograde for half of each year, but we mostly feel the heft of that on the days around its station (the period of time when it’s shifting from direct to retrograde, or vice versa), as it will this week (April 24, 11:45 am PDT). Here’s something I wrote a long time ago at a Pluto retrograde station; it has particular resonance for me right now, so I thought I’d share it with you.

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he expression “rolling over in his/her grave” was simply made for a Pluto station.  Pluto moved direct a couple of hours ago, and the day feels downright haunted. It’s as though some rather large Plutonian boulders have been overturned, unearthing all the squirming, slimy things that were living underneath.

I’m fearful today. That’s part of the Pluto journey. I don’t intend to rush, whistling, past the graveyard, desperately seeking comfort, redemption, or even wisdom. Instead, I’ve pulled up a low, hard bench in the middle of the cemetery. I’m listening to a cool wind in the trees, rustling the leaves of panic, confusion, grief, and rage.  I’m sitting Shiva with Pluto.

I could as easily watch a horror movie, or read a ghost story. These are ways of letting the gremlins out to play, projecting our fears onto a blank screen or page where they feel manageable. So are dressing as a goth, devouring vampire books, or having a picnic in a cemetery. Flirting with death at a cool, ironic remove is cathartic, Pluto kabuki theater.

But every now and then, life makes it impossible to keep fear at a safe, rational, sanitary distance. Boulders get overturned, and nastiness is revealed. We find that what’s been long buried is rolling over in a shallow grave, begging for release.

Come sit next to me. We’ll listen carefully; we’ll watch for what comes next.

Anyway, I like you

O

h, the Last Quarter Moon is a phase of such regret. It’s filled with all those 2 a.m. recriminations – why did I say or do that? – sometimes reaching back decades. The Last Quarter is for the part of us that just wants to get things right and do our best, and never feels we’re quite nailing it. This month’s Last Quarter Moon is in Aquarius (April 26, 3:18 pm PDT). “Oh, why aren’t I special, why am I so ordinary, I haven’t done anything amazing with my life, no one likes me,” it moans. The Sun in Taurus couldn’t be less interested in such things, generally speaking. “Don’t be silly,” it chides us. “You’re just fine. And for that matter, you’re not what I’d call ordinary.”

That’s the voice to listen to at this Last Quarter Moon. That’s the Sun that the Aquarius Last Quarter Moon is headed for at this phase; it can only aspire to the happy contentment, the stolid inner peace of the Bull. “Don’t make everything so complicated,” advises the Sun in Taurus. “You’re kind of interesting and funny. Anyway, I like you.”

And the nice thing is, it’s true. There’s almost always someone who likes you the way you are, or would if you’d let them. And if there isn’t, then maybe that person needs to be you.

Prefrontal cortex and testosterone

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t this exact moment, as I considered what to say about this week’s square between Mars in Gemini and Neptune in Pisces (April 27, 6:04 am PDT), I had a text from my cousin commenting on some sort of dreadful law enforcement reality show she’s watching. Apparently, one of the segments concerned a raging drunk motorist driving 110 mph on city streets with his 3-year-old in the car.

Given that Mars can signify truculence and impulse control, Gemini rules cars, and Neptune in Pisces can certainly symbolize alcohol and poor judgement, this story has all the necessary elements to serve as a cautionary tale for this transit. Mind your temper, and don’t drive drunk. I mean, this should be obvious.

And it is, to most of us, most of the time. But Mars is not cool, logical, or cerebral, even in Mercury-ruled Gemini. Mars is all prefrontal cortex and testosterone. Add Neptune to the mix and none of us are likely to be thinking as clearly as we think we are. So maybe you’re itching to let someone have it, someone who really has it coming; but this is probably not the week to pick that fight, because all the data might not be in, you know? Go for a swim instead, or take a bath, or dance. Curb your impulses. Try not to do what can’t be undone.

©2019  April Elliott Kent
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The post Highlights for April 22-28, 2019: Come Sit Next To Me appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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W

e’re not in the market for a new home, but my husband and I enjoy visiting open houses for sale in our neighborhood. This morning we toured a tiny but charming bungalow a few blocks away. Beautifully presented, it had been updated in a way that respected the vintage of the house. It was inspiring—exactly the kind of home tour I normally adore.

But I couldn’t wait to leave this one… because a trio of scented candles burned in every room of the house. They matched each room’s color scheme perfectly, and the effect of the flickering flames and soothing colors was lovely. But their fragrance was overpowering!

The owners were probably just trying to create a welcoming atmosphere. But I couldn’t help wondering what nasty smell might be lurking beneath that cloud of perfume.

This Full Moon (April 19, 4:12 am PDT) is at 29 degrees of Libra, a sign that is adept at making things lovely, nice, and fragrant. It’s the sign that symbolizes our ability to package ourselves in a pleasing way. People tend to like us better when they’re not forced to confront our coarse and strident humanity—our steely-eyed determination, pushy self-centeredness, and morning breath. Libra describes the social sensitivity and good manners that, like a scented candle (or a good toothpaste), mask some of our less pleasing qualities.

Go overboard with Libra, though, and people get suspicious. No one is that nice. Everyone has a bad day now and then. No one smiles all the time. Others might very well wonder, “Just what are you trying to hide?”

Society is pleasant when good manners and mutual sensitivity rule the day. But falseness is off-putting, and others sense it immediately. The challenge is to strike a balance between a pleasant demeanor and an authentic one.

Go overboard with Libra, though, and people get suspicious. No one is that nice. Everyone has a bad day now and then. No one smiles all the time. Others might very well wonder, “Just what are you trying to hide?”

The Aries Sun at this Full Moon is in a conjunction with Uranus; both are opposed the Moon in Libra, and all three are square Pluto in Capricorn. There are many conflicting impulses and needs bound up in this configuration; tension is likely to be high in the days around this Full Moon. Where do we turn for comfort and sanity?

In a configuration like this one, the tactic is similar to surviving any fast-moving disaster: move toward the empty space. The empty space in this cardinal sign cross lies opposite Pluto, in Cancer. It’s perfect astrological weather for nestling on the sofa with Netflix and the cat, for exulting in the sheer, indulgent, Cancerian bliss of being in your comfort zone.

We imagine that Libra demands that we always make nice and give in to others, but that’s not quite it. Libra simply asks that we balance the needs of one against the needs of another. With the Moon in my 7th house, Libra’s natural home, I spent much of my life trying too hard to buy affection with accommodation. The result was bad romances and failed friendships. It wasn’t until I reached my forties (and had a series of Pluto transits to my chart) that I realized just how much anger I’d stored up over all this false cheer and people-pleasing, and how much energy had gone into hiding that anger.

I’m a big fan of sensitivity and courtesy. But sometimes, you have to do the thing that is selfish and impolite. Say no. Skip the party. Ask for what you need. Relationships require that we walk the fine line between honoring our needs and respecting others, and there are times when you truly have no other choice than to put yourself first.

What are you hiding? A musty odor concealed by scented candles? A blotchy complexion covered by expensive liquid makeup? Resentment about putting others first too much of time, masked by a cheerful smile? I’m not suggesting we throw consideration for others out the window. But at this Full Moon, why not pull in the welcome mat for a few days, light some unscented candles, and throw a little more consideration in your own direction?

©2015-2019  April Elliott Kent
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The post Libra Full Moon: What Are You Hiding? appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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Hurry up and relax Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone. Click them to see the date and time where you are.

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enus is a key planetary player this week, moving into a new sign and ruling the signs of both the Full Moon and the Sun’s new sign. It also makes the first important aspect of the week, a square to Jupiter. Tax day (in the U.S.) is hardly the best day for a Venus/Jupiter square (April 15, 4:15 pm PDT), especially when Jupiter is on the degree of the Sabian Symbol, “A Chubby Little Rich Boy Rides Upon A Hobbyhorse”! But I guess this “hey, big spender” aspect could go either way for us —because if one person is spending big, that means someone else is receiving big. So join me in this vision of these two benefic planets coming together in a clashing aspect: Let’s imagine that they’re two wealthy, generous relatives who are each fighting to be the one who gives you the biggest gifts and the most love!

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ne advantage to tracking Mercury’s movements through the signs is that it tells you how to communicate in a way that people will best understand. Frankly, Mercury’s protracted and distracted journey through Pisces (since February 10, and including a retrograde period) can’t end quickly enough to suit me. It might have lent a certain amount of inspiration and sparkle, but it’s not the most linear sign for communication… so there was plenty of misunderstanding and frustration in the mix, too.

This week, Mercury finally leaves Pisces and enters Aries (April 16, 11 pm), a sign that moves fast. One thing I’ve learned from my Aries friends is that if I’m sending them an email, I’d better limit it to one line and put the key information in the first few words. While Mercury is in Aries (through May 6), you might consider doing the same. Get to the point quickly. Drip information instead of dumping it all at once. And do try to be a little bit patient; Mercury in Aries will eventually square Saturn (May 1), and if we try to race along between now and then we’ll find ourselves tripping over obstacles and more frustrated than ever.

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his second consecutive Full Moon in Libra (April 19, 4:12 am, 29.07 Libra) encapsulates the fundamental tension that’s building through the next month, between easy-going Taurus (which shares its planetary ruler—Venus—with Libra) and hard-driving Aries. I’ll explore this in my upcoming Full Moon essay. There is also a wild-card in this Full Moon scenario, which is the Sun’s conjunction and the Full Moon’s opposition to Uranus in Taurus. Unpredictability is the watchword when it comes to Uranus, and it’s a planet that governs the desire to do things our own way. And since Full Moons generally are relationship-oriented, and particularly in Libra (the sign of close partnerships), this is a time to shake up what’s stale and outmoded in our interactions with others, and start doing more of what we want to do. Relationships that are on solid ground will benefit from this airing out, and those that aren’t may come to their inevitable conclusion.

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he next day, the Sun enters Taurus (April 20, 1:55 am PDT). The Sun’s passage from sign to sign gives hints about where we’ll find vitality in the month ahead. In Taurus’ solar season, relaxation and good living are particularly important. If you’ve spent the month of the Sun in Aries rushing from task to task and starting new things, you might be ready for a rest about now. You can get away with burning the candle at both ends for awhile, but eventually you’ll start to burn out. Taurus’ season is generally the time to enjoy a slower pace. To eat well, get rest, and refocus on what’s enjoyable.

This Taurus season is complicated, however, by a couple of things. First, Venus—the ruling planet of Taurus—moves into Aries (April 20, 9:10 am) the same day the Sun enters Taurus! Venus is the planet of pleasure; it symbolizes money and relationships and the enjoyment we seek from them. In its pure form, Venus has a very straightforward approach to pleasure: acquire things (or spend time with people) that feel good, look good, taste good, sound good. While it’s been transiting the sign of Pisces (since March 26), there has been a somewhat more altruistic flavor to Venus, more of an emphasis on sharing and using resources in a way that benefits others.

As the Sun enters Taurus while Venus enters Aries, the focus naturally turns a little closer to home; and what will feel most enlivening in the month ahead is the kind of “rest” that’s actually pretty invigorating. Gardening, for instance, or hiking, dancing, or (if I may be as PG-13 as my Mars in Virgo will blushingly allow) sexy times. Anything that leads you into enjoyment of your physicality and appreciation of the sensual world, and which also requires some physical exertion or excitement, will be absolutely perfect.

But there’s one more thing: As it enters its new sign, the Sun is approaching a conjunction with Uranus, signaling unpredictability just when we’re getting a taste for stability. Until this aspect has completed early next week, expect the unexpected—and try to greet it with the equanimity for which Taurus is rightly famous. But more about that next week….

© 2019 April Elliott Kent

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The post Highlights for April 15-21, 2019: Hurry Up and Relax appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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Personal Growth Week Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone. Click them to see the date and time where you are.

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henever an astrologer starts talking about “personal growth,” you can safely gird your loins for some stormy astrological weather. This week has plenty of that—but it does have a great payoff toward the end, too. Let’s ease into it with the first important transit of the week… Big Tent

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enus makes its annual conjunction with Neptune (April 9, 11:14 pm PDT) on 18 Pisces and the Sabian Symbol, A gigantic tent. Is it a religious revival or a circus tent? Either way, it feels like a grand opportunity to either watch or perform a big show.

In my earlier incarnation as a singer, I enjoyed my time onstage, singing for an audience, more than any other part of my life. It wasn’t applause I was looking for – it was the feeling of being connected with a roomful of people in a pleasurable exchange of emotion, as though I were simply the conduit for the song I was singing.

That’s the feeling, I think, as Venus conjoins Neptune: as though we’re just the thing that love uses to manifest. Embrace any moment around April 9 when you find yourself feeling “in the flow,” happily engaged in doing something you love for the sheer ecstasy of it, and because it somehow dissolves the barriers between you and someone else. Remember that feeling, as we enter rougher waters.

Shining your light – no matter what

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he Sun makes one of its two annual squares to Saturn this week (April 10, 1:47 am PDT). In the days leading up to this transit, frustration tends to be high and energy low. You may feel you’re just not getting anywhere, no matter how hard you try—not being noticed when you try to let your light shine, or not being acknowledged for the right things.

This is Saturn’s way of being helpful, though it doesn’t feel like it, by not letting you get noticed for something that isn’t really you. You don’t want to peak too early, like someone who, say, stars on an iconic and possibly stupid TV show and then is never really able to have a career doing anything else. When we succeed before we really know who we are, we run the risk of long-term limitation and even failure.

The Sun also takes on Pluto this week with one of two annual squares (April 13, 1:04 am PDT), and with it comes reminders that being ignored or our enthusiasm dismissed hurts and makes us feel small. By design, we should be the Suns of our own little solar systems; but Pluto, so far from the Sun as to be immune to its warmth and vibrancy, couldn’t be less impressed with us.

But consider this: Think how confident you would feel if you truly didn’t need anyone else’s approbation. This is a short transit, only a couple of days really – but pay attention to any situation in which you are disrespected or completely ignored. Ask yourself, forget what naysayers say—do *I* approve of myself? If the answer is yes, you are a lot less dependent on outside approval.

After the humbling of Saturn and Pluto, bask in a life-affirming trine from the Sun to Jupiter (April 14, 6:40 am PDT) – part of a “grand trine” wherein the Sun in Aries and Moon in Leo trine both each other and Jupiter in Sagittarius. This is the “full steam ahead” day you’ve been waiting for. Jupiter will have turned retrograde a few days earlier (April 10, 10:00 am), so blessings might come from an unexpected direction; but go ahead and take a chance on something you’ve been wanting to do, and you’ll certainly get something worth having.

There is always time for a nap.

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hile the Sun is busy getting beat up by Saturn and Pluto, Mercury is in the wings with a pin, ready to square Jupiter (April 11, 9:18 pm) and burst every bubble of enthusiasm and imagination. At least, that’s what it feels like – but then it never feels good when your exciting, big ideas are received with pesky questions. Mercury in Pisces is well-meaning, and its pin pricks are not nearly as painful as those of, say, Mercury in Gemini or Virgo.  Mercury in Pisces questions are along the lines of, “But how will this affect others?” and, “Is there time for a nap first?” Jupiter in Sagittarius sighs; naps and interpersonal relations are not his job, he says – he’s in charge of the big picture.

But those pesky interpersonal relationships keep rearing their heads. For example, the First Quarter Moon this week falls in Cancer (April 12, 12:08 pm). This is the natural sign for the First Quarter Moon, the phase when we are moving away from solitude and self-determination and toward tribal identity and the desire to interact with others. Natural tension is created when the Sun in pioneering Aries must take the needs and feelings of others into consideration. This is especially difficult because, as mentioned earlier, the best response to this week’s Sun/Saturn and Sun/Pluto squares is to embrace our own true selves and not be defined by the opinions of others. But being true to ourselves doesn’t mean we don’t have an obligation to be kind and attentive to the important people in our lives, and that’s the point of the First Quarter Moon in Cancer: none of us is an island. And with the Moon’s North Node currently in Cancer, we’ll take comfort more than ever in being with people who feel like family.

© 2019 April Elliott Kent

Do you enjoy my work?

Please consider making a donation to Big Sky Astrology!

The post Highlights for April 8-14, 2019: Personal Growth Week appeared first on Big Sky Astrology with April Kent.

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