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Lynn's Skywatch:
Planetary Illuminations for May 2012

5/1 Chiron sextile Ceres
5/3 Pluto trine Ceres
      Mercury sextile Venus
5/5 Full Moon 11:35 pm 16 Scorpio
      Mercury opposite Saturn
5/9 Mercury enters Taurus
5/10 Mercury sextile Neptune
5/12 Pluto sextile Chiron
5/13 Sun conjunct Jupiter
      Mercury trine Mars
5/14 Mercury trine Pluto
      Mercury sextile Chiron
5/15 Venus retrograde
5/16 Mars trine Pluto
5/17 Mars opposite Chiron
      Mercury conjunct Ceres
5/20 Sun enters Gemini
      New Moon Solar eclipse 7:47 pm 0 Gemini
5/22 Mercury conjunct Jupiter
5/23 Sun square Neptune
5/24 Mercury enters Gemini
5/25 Mercury square Neptune
5/27 Sun conjunct Mercury
      Mercury sextile Uranus
5/28 Sun sextile Uranus
      Mercury square Chiron
5/30 Sun square Chiron
      Mercury square Mars


All dates and times are for the Eastern time zone; please adjust for your own locality.  For daily planetary news, visit my Facebook and Twitter pages.

There are two big news stories for May and a few smaller headlines. Planetary activity over the past six months or so has been relatively quiet, with very few outer planet alignments that foster intense change and transformation on a global and personal level. This, however, is about to end as the upcoming square from Uranus to Pluto becomes tighter and tighter, culminating on June 24 th. Uranus is the planet of radical change and liberation from repression, and Pluto is the planet of death and total transformation. You can see how a challenging aspect between these two planets can be quite intense and inspire global upheaval as social and cultural traditions are forced to give way to new patterns of human life.

Follow the Astrological Musings blog for more detailed articles about the square from Uranus to Pluto, but this aspect actually began last summer when the two planets came within a degree of the exact alignment, fostering revolutionary fervor and a desire for change. This summer marks the first exact aspect, and the groundwork that has been laid for the eighteen months will culminate and there is likely to be a great deal of political upheaval. How we handle this in our personal life will depend upon our own chart and the planetary aspects that we ourselves are experiencing.

The second major news story for May is the retrograde turn of Venus, the planet of beauty and relating. Venus only changes direction every eighteen months or so, unlike the outer planets which are retrograde for roughly half the year and Mercury, which retrogrades four times a year. Planetary retrograde periods serve to encourage us to complete unfinished business and to perfect half-baked processes, so they are very important and useful. But because they necessitate a backwards view they can be somewhat frustrating which is where they get their bad reputation.

When Venus is retrograde we often reacquaint ourselves with people from our past, or repair broken connections that require mending. It can be difficult to begin a new relationship when Venus is retrograde, and any kind of partnership (personal or business) that begins under this influence may have a difficult time taking root. Venus will remain retrograde through June 27 th.

What makes this particular Venus retrograde period exceptional is that it coincides with a transit of Venus over the Sun, a relatively rare event that occurs in pairs eight years apart only every 243 years. The first transit of Venus over the Sun in the current cycle occurred in June 2004, and the next one won’t occur until 2117. The coincidence of such a rare astronomical event occurring during the dreaded 2012 has given rise to much speculation about the end of the world, but these transits of Venus are not associated with devastation. Transits of Venus always occur in Gemini and Sagittarius – the signs of knowledge and understanding – and they have been associated throughout history with breakthroughs in these areas.

I will be writing much more about these events at Astrological Musings, so stay tuned!



As May begins, Pluto (depth, intensity and transformation) is moving into a harmonious sextile to Chiron (wounding and healing). The blending of these two forces assists in the soul surgery that is sometimes required to move through old stuck places and heal old wounds. At the very beginning of May these two forces for healing and transformation harmonize with Ceres, the planet of self-care and nurturing of the Earth. This is a time for healing with food – using nutrition to provide spiritual sustenance as well as physical. While these aspects culminate between May 1 st and the 3 rd their influence is embedded in the Full Moon on May 5 th and the two planets will remain within a degree of each other throughout the month, making this one of the most important aspects for May.

A harmonious sextile from Mercury (communication) to Venus (relating, beauty) on the 3 rd facilitates all kinds of interpersonal communication, and also makes it easier to express ourselves creatively, but then Mercury moves into an opposition to Saturn (discipline and material reality) in an aspect that culminates at the Full Moon and forces us to confront any areas of our psyche in which we carry a delusion that holds us back. The Full Moon is in Scorpio where nothing is superficial – this Full Moon is all about delving deep into the Mysteries where the Truth lies unexposed in its raw and most real form.

In the Scorpio Full Moon the lunar instinct turns towards the fire of emotion in order to find our inner passions and face our emotions with courage and awareness. However the Sun is opposite the Moon in Taurus, seeking peace and serenity in the midst of that Scorpionic emotional fire.

An awkward quincunx between Uranus (radical behavior) and Mars (aggressive instinct) suggests an inner restlessness and urge to flee the confrontation of this Full Moon and planning for some sort of outlet for this energy is advised. Mars is also exactly square (a conflicting aspect) to the lunar nodes which represent a sense of fate and inner direction, so this Full Moon marks a sort of turning point. Perhaps a decision will be necessary, or an event will occur that will affect our lives permanently.

After the Full Moon there are a few days of planetary quiet and then Mercury enters Taurus and forms a harmonious sextile to Neptune. Mercury represents the mind and the way we process information, and in Taurus the mind becomes quieter and more concerned with simpler things. There is also a tendency to become more rooted, and it will be more difficult to effect change during the few weeks when Mercury is in Taurus. This is not a good time to venture into arguments for this reason – there will be little opportunity to alter the opinions of your opponent. However, the sextile to Neptune enhances creativity and does open the door to intuition and creativity in a way that can help to bridge any gaps created by disagreements.

The harmonious sextile from Pluto to Chiron described above culminates on May 12 th and the week before and after could see significant or momentous events that promote healing of old wounds that still haunt us. A number of smaller planetary movements assist in this process: a conjunction between the Sun (Self) and Jupiter (abundance and growth) on the 13 th fosters a growing self-confidence and appreciation of our own gifts, and a trine from Mercury (thought process) to Mars (assertive energy) on that same day bestows the gift of mental understanding that helps to speed the process of healing as we integrate the healing process into the entire mind body spirit system.

On the 14 th the planetary assistance continues with harmonious aspects between Mercury and the Chiron/Pluto aspect we have already discussed. This helps to lock in the intellectual understanding already begun with the previous aspects so that we can make permanent changes with a new awareness and wisdom.

Venus turns retrograde on May 15 th. You will likely not notice any significant events on that particular day, but pay attention during the Venus retrograde period (through June 27 th) for the lessons that only relationships can teach us.

On the 16 th and 17 th Mars interacts with the Pluto/Chiron alignment, bringing the healing force back to life. Mars is in a harmonious trine to Pluto which helps to empower and strengthen our resolve, but it opposes Chiron which can create irritation and eruptions of dormant physical illness or distress.

Mars is still in Virgo where it inspires us to pay attention to the details of our life – the mundane day-to-day experiences that are necessary when we live in a body. During these few days you might want to pay attention to how your body feels as we are more sensitive under this influence to illness or body pain as undigested psychic material strives to come to the surface. A conjunction of Mercury (understanding) to Ceres (nurturing the body) on the 17 th will help enormously in illuminating these issues so that we can understand their source and find solutions to any problems that arise.

The Sun enters Gemini on May 20 th at the New Moon Solar Eclipse at zero degrees Gemini. New Moons mark the beginning of the lunar cycle, and a New Moon at the first degree of a sign carries its own signature of a new beginning. Gemini is the sign of awakening the mind: the mental curiosity that takes us into new experiences and new ways of looking at the world.

This New Moon is an eclipse because it occurs near the Nodes of the Moon – in this case it aligns in a tight conjunction with the South Node which represents our past history and karmic ties. The Lunar Nodes give eclipses greater significance since we are confronting and clearing energies that continue to lurk from the past. While we are fostering this new beginning and creating new ideas for the future, something or someone from the past will require our attention. We can’t move forward without integrating these lessons.

Mercury, Gemini’s ruler, is conjunct Jupiter at the New Moon which enhances the mind and facilitates understanding. However, Neptune squares the lunation and the South Node which brings an element of mystery and confusion into the mix. The Gemini New Moon wants to be free like a bird to fly above the earth and collect new viewpoints, but Neptune challenges us to surrender our ideas of the way the world works and instead learn to trust our intuitive inner voice. This can create some confusion if we are unused to living a life simultaneously in our inner and outer worlds but it is exactly this experience that leads us to a deeper wisdom.

This theme continues over the next few days as Mercury enters Gemini where the mind becomes freer and communication more facile, but a square from Mercury to Neptune continues to force us to question everything. The creative brain is very active now and must integrate with the rational mind.