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April: Seeking Balance Amid Disorienting Retrogrades

The start of April with the "Fool's" Day was particularly apt this year. Just as sometimes we're unclear at the outset whether a Fool's Day joke is real or a joke, there may be many days this month, we'll be wondering just that about our experiences.

Venus retrograde was less than a degree into Aries on the first of the month, and she will be there in direct motion on the last day of the month, with many adventurous days in between. Mercury was less than a degree into Taurus. The Gemini Moon was square Neptune. The T-square with Jupiter, Pluto, and the Uranus/Eris combo was still strong. In fact, Jupiter and Pluto were exactly square, and the Sun, at 11 Aries, was just beginning to form an opposition to Juptier and a square to Pluto. Saturn, Mercury and Pluto were all slowing towards retrograde.

We needed to prepare for an April of surprises, a lot of retrograde energy, and unpredictability. We remain in a period of transformative change, as individuals, and as a collective. This does not stop, or even slow down, during April. Rather, we are likely to experience small shocks or revelations of change, realizations that we can either accept and proceed willingly, or deny and trudge reluctantly, into the future. Most of us see a bit of both options.

On April 2, Venus retrograded out of Aries and back into Pisces at 5:26 PM PDT. She had been in Aries for nearly 2 months, during which she made a conjunction to the Sun, and began making her way from an evening star to a morning star. The Venus retrograde period is a time for inward looking, for evaluating our relationships and resources, and assessing the worth and value of them in our life. We are able to be more discerning about concerns, problems, and unresollved issues. Often people out of our past make contact with us, and vice versa. It is not a time to take rash action, but rather to consider what might be best for us in the long term.

Saturn stationed retrograde at 10:06 PM PDT at 27 degrees 48 minutes Sagittarius on April 5. It was square Venus retrograde, and trine Eris/Uranus in late Aries, as well as Mercury in early Taurus. Saturn was then the third planet retrograde, joining Jupiter and Venus.

It's important to note whenever Saturn turns retrograde. Sometimes we think 'why bother?' with the more distant planets because they do spend a lot of time retrograde, so it can't matter that much. Nevertheless, for Saturn, it is a period of 140 days when we need to be looking at the structures, boundaries, and commitments we've set in our lives and how they might need to be tweaked, or otherwise changed, to meet our current needs. You might notice that projects slow down a bit. That would be natural. If there's something in your life that's particularly frustrating, it may be the perfect time to re-organize, or re-negotiate, that responsibility in order for things to flow more smoothly for all involved.

At the time Saturn stationed retrograde, and for the remainder of April, Saturn and Venus are squared. Until April 15, both will be retrograde. This could be particularly challenging, if one or more of your current frustrations involves a relationship, or a financial concern. Because retrograde planets seem to more active in stirring up issues we need to look at, we may feel pushed to address problems in those areas. That, of course, is a good thing, but nevertheless difficult. Better, however, to face the reality, than to take cover and avoid what's dragging your energy down. Venus is about values, and she wants you to re-evaluate what is most important to you. We change, we evolve, and our values often evolve as well. It may not be easy. The position of Venus conjunct Chiron remains until the end of the month. This aspect says we may be reminded of early wounding as we make our way through relationship or financial difficulties. Periods of self-pity, sadness, frustration, or over-reacting would not be unusual.

Saturn is the "Lord of Karma" in myth. Such an image connotes seriousness, and not playing favorites. We each must take responsibility for our actions. In a Saturnian period, we feel pressured, but if we look for and welcome it, there is also strenth. If we feel down, it may be that Saturn is letting us know it is the time for better boundaries, honing our capacity to say NO, and strongly standing up for ourselves.

Mercury had also been slowing and on April 9, at 4:15 PM PDT, stationed retrograde at 4 degrees 51 minutes Taurus. It will retrograde back into Aries on April 20, then station direct on May 3. If Mercury's retrograde periods are often eventful for you, then hopefully you took your usual precautions, i.e., backed up your computer, thought twice before responding to misunderstood messages, etc. This retrograde period, coinciding with so many other planets retrograde, is likely to require a lot of mental attention and focus. There is a need to watch for ego-attachment to what others say, a need to find out what is really meant, rather than make assumptions and become offended or overly gratified by comments.

April's potent Full Moon in Libra arrived on April 10, at 11:08 PM PDT. What made this Full Moon so potent? It joined the other planets already in a T-square to Pluto! The Moon was magnified by its conjunction with Jupiter. The Sun was conjunct Eris and Uranus, giving it oomph and feistiness. We also had Mars in Taurus trine to Pluto in Capricorn. And of course, Venus in Pissces was square Saturn in Sagittarius. The Full Moon was another blast to our consciousness that we are asked to make big changes NOW. If we don't make them consciously and with intention, they will be made anyway, but probably not in a way we would like or imagine.

Mars takes a role in Venus' action between the 13th and 20th of the month, as he aspects Venus with a sextile and provides support. Mars in Taurus, a sign ruled by Venus, and associated with our values. The warrior energy of Mars can strengthen our need to self-value so that we can take the best action, whether it be for self-healing, self-forgiveness, or just saying YES to what we need and want, and NO to others' expectations that run counter to our own purpose.

Venus stations direct at 3:18 AM PDT on April 15 at 26 degrees 55 minutes Pisces, but will remain in her shadow until mid-May. This means we can definitely take any action necessary around the relationship, financial, or resource issue we've been pondering, but the issues themselves will not fade until Venus moves out of her shadow (beyond the degree she was in when stationing retrograde).

On April 16, the Sun Moon, Venus, Mars, and Chiron will all be at 26 degrees, and Saturn will be at 27 degrees. The Moon will only be at that degree for a few hours, but nevertheless I am hoping that the vibration of that degree, the resonance, will bring about some harmony in our world. Many Christian families around the world will be gathering together to celebrate Easter. Jewish families may be gathering for Passover celebrations. May it be a day to recover our inner peace, if only for a moment.

The Sun enters Taurus at 2:27 PM PDT on April 19. Whew! Can we relax for a bit? Only Uranus and Eris are in Aries then, with three planets in Taurus. Yes, Saturn and Venus are still square, but the major cardinal T-square in the sky is waning. Take a few deep breaths that day, for on April 20 there are two more shifts, though not huge ones.

Pluto stations retrograde at 5:49 AM PDT at 19 degrees 24 minutes Capricorn, and will remain retrograde until the end of September, with an overall movement of less than 3 degrees during that time. Mercury retrogrades back into Aries at 10:38 AM PDT, leaving it still conjunct the Sun and Uranus, and trine retrograde Saturn.

Meanwhile Mars is about to add some air to our chart. He moves out of Taurus and into Gemini at 3:32 AM PDT on April 21. The Moon happens to be in Aquarius that day, so more air! We could actually feel a bit lighter if we have released some of the tension from the need to make necessary changes by actually making them. Regardless, breathe deep and do some stretching!

On April 23-25, Mercury and Saturn, both retrograde, are in a very strong trine. This gives support to making good mental progress, doing diligent work, and negotiating successfully. This will be especially true on issues that you have not had success with in the past.

April 25, in the Moon's waning hours of its cycle, it conjuncts Uranus, Eris, and Mercury, and the four of them all trine Saturn. This gives even more energy to the previous days' willingness to work hard, and accomplish tasks you've been putting off for awhile.

The New Moon in earthy Taurus arrives at 5:16 AM PDT on April 26. This cycle could literally bring us to earth, allow us to ease once again into our bodies, and into our senses. Despite everything else that's happening on the planet, and in our own lives, it's time to smell the flowers, enjoy the sunshine, and realize we are truly alive! It's the perfect day to make an intention, visualize what you want to see in your own life and for the collective as well. Need better health? Visualize it. Need more money? Visualize it. Need a good vacation? Visualize it. Peace on earth? Visualize it. If you can't imagine it, how can you manifest it?

Venus shifts back into Aries on April 28, at 6:14 AM PDT. This feels like an important moment,symbolic of not only the Venus cycle, but for the feminine archetype at this time in the world. The Sabian symbol for the first degree of Aries is: "A woman has risen out of the ocean, a seal is embracing her." As Marc Edmund Jones says, in "The Sabian Symbols in Astrology," it is "a symbol of unconditioned potentiality." It is calling each of us to summon the positive power of the feminine in ourselves. It is up to us to bring balance to a world so tainted by an out-of-control patriarchy now crashing and burning before our eyes. It won't come quickly nor quietly, but it is the rise of the feminine archetype that is needed to bring a more balanced, sustainable approach to life on earth.

Lynda Hill, in her book "The Sabian Sybols as an Oracle," says of this symbol: "New understandings and awareness are coming to light. Whatever is emerging, either in you or around you, needs to be accepted, welcomed and nurtured....be fearless in the face of the changes that are coming." Venus will be in Aries until June 6.

See you in May!

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