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Lynn's Skywatch:
Planetary Illuminations for May 2013

5/1 Mars opposite Saturn
       Mercury enters Taurus
       Sun trine Pluto
5/3 Sun sextile Chiron
        Mars sextile Ceres
5/4 Mercury sextile Neptune
5/5 Mercury opposite Saturn
       Uranus square Ceres
       Mars trine Pluto
5/6 Mercury sextile Ceres
5/7 Mercury trine Pluto
       Sun opposite North Node
       Mercury conjunct Mars
       Mercury sextile Chiron
       Pluto opposite Ceres
5/8 Mars sextile Chiron
5/9 Venus enters Gemini
       Mercury opposite North Node
       Eclipse new moon 19 Taurus 8:28 pm
5/11 Sun conjunct Mercury
5/12 Mars opposite North Node
       Chiron trine Ceres
       Venus square Neptune
5/15 Mercury enters Gemini
5/18 Mercury square Neptune
       Venus sextile Uranus
5/20 Venus square Chiron
       Sun enters Gemini
       Uranus square Pluto
       Mercury sextile Uranus
5/22 Mercury square Chiron
5/24 Mercury conjunct Venus
5/25 Full moon eclipse 4 Sagittarius 12:25 am
5/26 Sun square Neptune
5/27 Mercury conjunct Jupiter
5/28 Venus conjunct Jupiter
5/31 Mercury enters Cancer
       Mars enters Gemini

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.

MAJOR INFLUENCES - THE PAST IS FALLING AWAY

Over the past few months we have moved from a dreamy and creative emphasis in Pisces, through a fiery Aries stellium with lots of passion and incendiary events. We are now in a Taurean period where we crave stability and the kind of peace that comes from knowing t hat our lives are secure. However, with Uranus and Pluto moving into phase three of their big challenging cycle, this security is limited. Taurus inspires us to hold firm to our ground, but the Uranus/Pluto square is forcing us to let go of anything that we hold onto which lacks a solid foundation, including our ideas of what our lives should be - fears that keep us from moving forward. The tide is turning now, and we have to somehow find a way to find that peace and serenity while the world around us is shifting.

You can catch up on that here (as well as read my take on last month's bombing in Boston). Uranus rules surprising events that shatter the status quo and create change, while Pluto regulates the regular destruction and regeneration of that which has decayed and is no longer useful. When these two planets interact in strong aspect (conjunction, square and opposition) the result is an earthquake of social and political change.

This can sound frightening, and of course there are aspects of this dynamic that will create fear and imbalance as old ways fall away and are replaced by new ones. But this intense cycle of transformation does not occur in a vacuum. There are other, more harmonious cycles which add comfort and support. One such cycle is the harmonious sextile between Saturn and Pluto which has been in effect since December of 2012. Saturn adds structure and integrity to the deconstruction process of Pluto and helps us to handle change in a practical manner rather than lose our footing and slip down a vortex of chaos. Saturn and Pluto are both retrograde now, so their influence is more strongly personal as we discover ways to anchor our experience (Saturn) while still encountering the depth of our internal reality (Pluto).

Saturn is also in a trine to Neptune that began last October and will remain in effect over the next few months. In its role as master of the physical world, Saturn aids us in connecting our spiritual yearnings (Neptune) in a more practical application that can help us to find meaning in the change that is occurring all around us.

MAY DETAILS

As May begins the intense emphasis in a single element which we have seen over the past couple of months is no longer in effect., but there is a strong focus on earth and water - the receptive elements. Once Mercury moves into Taurus there will be only one planet (Uranus) in fire, and only Jupiter is in air. This more receptive climate is good for rest, but it may make it more difficult to adapt and find meaning in the change that is occurring all around us.

Still, other than the square of Uranus and Pluto there are no planetary aspects of the outer planets that evoke major changes in our lives. There is a great deal of planetary activity but we are working mostly with the quicker moving planets that are shorter-lived and will not impede the transformation that is afoot.

May begins with an opposition between Mars and Saturn that can be somewhat challenging for a few days, especially since Mars is approaching a conjunction to the Sun. Watch for accidents under this influence as the pressure of Saturn can lead to a rebellious and overactive Mars. Mercury enters Taurus on the 1st which amplifies the energy of Taurus (now with four planets in that sign of power and perseverance).

Don't expect there to be much adaptability now - this is a time for gathering strength and finding one's footing rather than going along to get along. A trine from the Sun to Pluto on the 1st helps to keep things strong and powerful in the practical world since both are in earth signs.

May 3rd brings harmonious contacts between the Sun and Chiron, aiding in healing and understanding, and between Mars and Ceres which helps us to nourish and nurture ourselves.

Mercury (mental function and intellect) is quite active over the next few days, interacting with Neptune (spiritual experience), Saturn (practical grounding), Pluto (probing mind), Mars (energized mind) and Chiron (compassionate understanding) between the 4th and the 7th. This is a time of heightened mental activity and will be great for writers, although the rest of us will find it necessary to engage in more meditative practices to quiet the mind.

A harmonious trine from Mars (energy) to Pluto (power) around this time will help us to find direction for our inspiration and motivate us to more powerful manifestation of our reality.

That aspect continues into the 7th and 8th which is the peak of the heightened mental activity involving Mercury. This is an excellent time for visualization and reassessing the image for how you would like your life to unfold. The mind is active, but it connects powerfully to all other aspects of our being now which facilitates the manifestation of mind into reality.

A harmonious sextile from Mars to healing Chiron on the 8th can help us to break through a psychological or emotional block that stands in the way of this process. This aspect is embedded into the chart for the New Moon and solar eclipse on the 9th. This is the second eclipse of the year, and it is more powerful because the lunar nodes are only about four degrees from the lunation. With the New Moon in Taurus there is a desire to find peace and stability in one's life, but the eclipse will likely shake something loose that has provided us with false security. The result will be unsettling but ultimately liberating as we are freed from something that has held us back.

Mercury and Mars are tied into this New Moon and conjoin the South Node of the past which will help us in our remembering and acting out old patterns of the past so that they can be set free. Chiron harmonizes with the New Moon and its accompanying planets which aids in the process and makes it easier for us to help others along the way. And with Pluto still in a trine to Mars, our desires (Mars) can be facilitated by Pluto's power.

The Sun and Mercury align on the 11th which activates the higher mind and can open the third eye for greater knowledge and wisdom. A challenging square from Venus (relating to others) to Neptune (illusion) on the 12th, however, may cloud our vision for a day or so.

Mercury enters its own Gemini on the 15th, and for a few weeks the mind is particularly active filled with curiosity and a hunger to learn and accumulate more information.

On the 18th a challenging square from Mercury to Neptune can again create confusion for a day or two. This is a time of heightened creativity, but not necessarily clarity. Venus harmonizes with Uranus on that day which may bring a pleasantly surprising interaction with a friend or loved one. However, on the 20th a challenging square from Venus to Chiron may expose a deeper wound that needs to be resolved before truly effective relationships can result.

The 20th is also the day of the exact square between Uranus and Pluto. Because this is a larger cycle of slower moving planets this particular day may not be all that significant - the effect accumulates over time. Mercury is again very active now - harmonizing with Uranus but challenging in a square to Chiron. I expect this to be a few days of great mental unrest - on a personal level as well as a global one.

This of course leads to the Full Moon eclipse on May 25th in Sagittarius. This lunar event is less powerful than the solar eclipse at the New Moon for a variety of reasons. The Sagitarius/Gemini polarity embodied the least amount of stress of any of the zodiac polarities, so the Full Moons in these signs carry the potential for easier integration. The Moon is in Sagittarius now and the Sun in Gemini - both signs crave the freedom to pursue an ideal and gain greater understanding of the world. This is a time to set aside petty annoyances and allow ourselves the freedom to pursue our dreams.

Four planets are in communicative Gemini during this Full Moon, including a tight conjunction of Venus (beauty), Mercury (mind) and Jupiter (expansion and confidence), so the emphasis on transmission of ideas is heightened. This is not a particularly positive time for solitary introspection - this kind of active wisdom must be shared with others.

The lunation is locked in a challenging square to Neptune, planet of spirituality but also of deception, so there is a danger that in our desire to flee the distractions of the mundane world we take off into a realm where we are prone to lose our footing. This can be balanced by a conscious effort to integrate our creative inspiration into our dreams. Creativity and spiritual yearning come from the same source: the part of us that longs for a deeply personal connection to the divine. This Full Moon has a tremendous amount of creative potential locked within it that can be released if we are careful not to allow it to dissipate into fantasy.

Over the next few days leading to the end of the month the triple conjunction in Gemini continues to tighten until Mercury enters Cancer on the 31st and there is a shift from the intellect (Gemini) to the realm of feelings (Cancer). Mars will leave the fixed sign of Taurus to move into more flexible Gemini that same day, so the Geminian influence of change and adaptability will continue to make itself known.