ABOUT A YEAR AGO, we stepped through the veil into a new world. It may be difficult to even
remember how strange it felt at first, so much has changed since then. Now we’ve
acclimated — so much so that the excesses we indulged in over recent years may make us
blush. Austerity is the key word now, fleshed out by a barrage of newly coined phrases and
meanings like “claw-back”, “shovel-ready”, “upside-down” or “under water”. This is how Pluto
in Capricorn feels, and it is the highlighted energy in April.
In January and February, the planets were clustered very tightly in Aquarius, then Pisces. Now
they are spreading out. We could say that Pluto was the anchor of the grouping, now the sole and
long-term occupant of Capricorn. As the planets reach Aries, they present to us the first snarl in
life’s yarn for this year’s cycle.
Venus Provided the Opening Salvo. This we began to encounter with Venus as it reached (its first square to) Pluto on February 5. In
theory, this is the time when a situation is “set up” in our lives that will need resolving, because
Venus will make two more squares to Pluto over the course of April and May.
While we can pinpoint the exact dates when these interactions will occur, there is really a process that extends from the time of the first contact through the time of the final one. We can determine
the situation by examining what we’re experiencing around the day of the first contact (and by
looking at where Venus and Pluto fall in our natal chart). No matter where it falls, there is a
theme of giving up a selfish interest in order to shift into the energy of our new more frugal
future. If you been feeling a bit petulant, a little touchy about trivial things, it’s a sign that there’s
something deeper you don’t want to give up. This gets into very deep territory, since Pluto is
involved: There’s something you fear you’ll have to give up as a part of the transformative
process we’re all involved in.
If we dig in our heels, it’ll be harder to make the transition; if we leap too quickly, we’ll thrash
around trying to find our footing in the mud. The key is to go with the flow. While a planet is
retrograde it is natural to look back at circumstances and experiences associated with that planet.
For Venus, it is love and money, put simply.
Pluto Drives the Process. In April, we’re upping the ante. On the 4th, Pluto begins its 4-month retrograde period. This
occurs on the day after Venus makes its second square to Pluto. This creates an opening for one
powerful realization! Because it is timed with the start of Pluto’s retrograde, we get a major clue
to what we can transform over the next four months and how to go about it. To get further clues,
check out what you were experiencing around December 22 and March 23. Future developments
will occur around June 23 and in mid-September.
This has to do with the aforementioned strange new world we have entered. Pulling back, re-evaluating, building a firmer foundation, creating a “real” economy based on real products rather
than intangibles like financial instruments and hedge funds — these are our Plutonian urges,
culturally speaking. While Pluto is so newly into this sign, we may not have a way forward well
worked out, but out of this chaos we will find our own unique niche in the new order that is
Blinded by the Light Following the hymn of Inanna, Venus is in the Underworld as if dead as the month opens.
Astronomically, she has been in the orb of the Sun (can’t be seen because of the Sun’s light)
since about March 20. Just as we are blinded to her, it is also true that we are blind to what is
really going on while Venus is so close to the Sun. We can’t see what the future — especially the
next 18 months — holds. Until Venus emerges from the solar brightness, we may lack clarity
about what our next steps should be. In the meantime, we can finish up old projects, clear the
decks with others, let things move forward that are ready, but don’t push in areas that are not yet
ripe for further development.
Venus will emerge as the morning star on April 3 (as she squares Pluto). This gives her (and us)
the autonomy, clarity, strength, and courage to take on a big task, to make some big changes in
our lives. We will be — must be — willing to set aside our fear of being unloved in order to
The good news is that we have some help. Venus’s only difficult contact is with Pluto. The rest
of the planets either help (Mercury, Jupiter, Chiron, Neptune) or stay out of the way (Mars,
Saturn, Uranus). The Moon adds the usual weekly complications, heating up the appropriate area
of our lives on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Mars Lags Behind. While Venus complicates our lives with a long stay in Aries, Mercury speeds ahead, and the Sun
ticks off our steady passage into spring. Mars now lags behind this crew, symbolically leading us
to wait until we understand something thoroughly before taking action.
This is true with Saturn-Uranus. Mars is in Pisces as the month opens, sharing the sign with
Uranus. You recall Saturn-Uranus. They began to oppose each other last summer, bringing out
the urgent need we have to make overdue changes in our lives, particularly in our political system
(specifically ruled by Saturn and Uranus), but also affecting the economy. Saturn’s love affair
with tradition has been butting up against Uranus’s penchant for insurrection. When placed in the
world of politics, we got a radical shift in public policy in the change from the Bush to the
Obama Administration. This stirred up, and improved, the economic prospects of the country; it
was time for a change in economic policy.
All of this has augmented the unknowns we were fast becoming aware of as Pluto entered
Capricorn, and the end result is no small amount of pandemonium as we look for our footing as
the old structures crumble around us and new ones are built.
The Saturn-Uranus opposition occurs five times over 2 ½ years, so far on November 4 (Election
Day) and February 5. Even though these planets have separated by about 7 degrees right now,
they are still very much engaged with each other. The pressure is off for now, but Mars is going
to bring this area back to life once it gets in range of Saturn — on April 4 (does this date sound
From the 4th until the 15th, Mars will heat this pair up, bringing the challenges we’ve been facing
since last summer back into the foreground. While the issues absolutely manifest as real-life
circumstances, they have their roots in internal misunderstanding. By dispelling these illusions,
we can flip the switch that will change our lives. We have to think outside the box and embrace
what we fear, just like Venus-Inanna in her
journey into the Underworld.
When Mars makes this passage, it will carry
reverberations of Venus’s journey. It’s
important during this time to draw on the
harmonies that exist, and they are many. On
the 10th-12th and 14th-15th, the Moon gives
us extra assistance. Look for clues of what’s
working, and follow up on leads and
opportunities that come your way at these
All Problems Have Boundaries. It’s only when we feel that a problem is an
endless abyss that we feel overwhelmed by it.
Once we can define and limit it, it loses much
of its drama, and we can relax and solve it. So it will be with at least one thing in our lives when
Venus returns to forward motion on April 17. At least we’ll begin to see the boundaries on our
problems. Although it may be into May before we can complete their resolution, a release occurs
at this time.
Icing on the Cake Before Venus returns to forward motion, she backs into Pisces, which is her sign of exaltation.
This bodes well for good outcomes, and it is especially auspicious then that Mars will catch up
with her on the 21st. If you’ve had a quarrel with a loved one, this is a good time to work it out, or
at least take a step in that direction. Although their contact holds energy for the briefest of times,
Venus’s second stay in Pisces gives us more good energy to spread around, as she will rule the
outcome of situations from the 11th through the 23rd. This lovely connection is shown in Chart B.
Relationship Dramas Could Continue. It may not be possible to completely resolve relationship matters by this time, however. This is
because Mars gets just as involved in the transformative process that our relationships are going
through. On the 22nd, Mars enters Aries and begins to square Pluto, just as Venus did. Where
Venus-Pluto indicated a relatively internalized conflict, Mars’s interaction with Pluto is more
active, even volatile. This energy is certain to come out as violence in some forces or people
around the world who find this an acceptable form of expression. In our own lives, it is not likely
to do so unless there is a situation where an intense emotion could boil over.
Mars square Pluto carries a lot of energy. We are more likely to have more energy than we know
how to use. However, if we collect too much energy without being able to release it, it can cause
collapse just like under-energy can. We can use it in our lives to fuel a task that we find difficult,
whether spiritually, emotionally, or physically. The energy surge will last for four days with a
peak on the 26th, with a repeat buzz on the 28th.
Aquarian Stellium Redux The Aquarian stellium still exists, though diminished now to Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune. These
remain a major directive force in our lives, and as the fast-moving planets move through Aries,
we get the opportunity to put more definition on what we want to create with this sky’s-the-limit
grouping. This is the optimum time for us to make a simple statement about what we want to
create (or feel we are creating) in 2009. This will sharpen our sense of direction and purpose,
both key words for this cluster.
So much is being said in the news about the American Dream. In the US, it is clear that it is
being redefined. Up until the economic crash, the majority of people defined their dream in terms
of material wealth. This is no longer the case. More people are turning to each other — and
looking for love. The American Dream has also become more altruistic and compassionate, from
being community-minded to experiencing freedom of expression, to wanting the basic supports
for human life such as work and earnings, protection of your wealth by those who have
committed to do so, and good healthcare for all. The American psyche will recreate its Dream
this year under this stellium. We can do the same personally, as well as participate in the
redefinition of the cultural concept.
Mercury’s Mixed Signals Mercury is zinging along at top speed in April, but you know the refrain: What goes up must
come down. Mercury is already getting ready for its next retrograde. By mid-month, it is already
starting to slow down; by the 22nd, it reaches the area of the zodiac over which it will later
retrograde. Unlike our last Mercury retrograde, which missed connecting with most of the
planets, this time it gets right in the thick of things. Mercury will square Jupiter, Chiron, and
Neptune as these planets are slowing down to retrograde. This is not as challenging as the
interaction between Mercury, Chiron, and Neptune as last year, when they all stationed on the
same weekend, but it will still hold its own in our experience. Mercury will also give us new
open doorways through 3 sextiles to Uranus, so get ready for some inspiration!
If you want to track what threads in your life will receive extra focus during the coming Mercury
retrograde, observe your experiences April 22–25. This will involve the healing of your own
dreams for your life and what stands in the way of realizing them.
Saturn-Uranus Watch Even though I mentioned it earlier, Saturn-Uranus still deserves special mention. By the end of
March, the Sun and Mercury have moved on, but Mars will trigger them, as mentioned above in
the first half of April. However, Saturn has, because of its retrograde, moved 7° earlier than
Uranus, so it may feel as though they are disengaged. This is not the case; their interaction may
be less intense, but they are still dialoguing with each other. Once Saturn returns to forward
motion on May 16, their opposition will heat up again, until they meet again on September 15.
We can’t forget the quincunxes, seen in Chart A. My aphorism related to sextiles is, “Where
there is a sextile, a yod lurks.” If we consider that we have a strong sextile between the planets in
Aries and the planets in Aquarius, the quincunx point to both these signs is in Virgo, and Saturn
sits at that sensitive spot. This means that there will be “sidebar issues” or side effects to
whatever actions we consider or take. It won’t be possible to find resounding completions to
matters we work with during the first half of the month. There will still be factors that make us
uncertain about how things will work out.
Because Saturn and Uranus are opposed to each other, their yearly cycles are exactly opposite
each other too. Thus, as Saturn’s culminated in mid-March, Uranus’s is just beginning; when
Uranus’s reaches its peak in September, Saturn’s new cycle will be starting. We can use the seeds
of awareness about Saturn to feed our approach to Uranus, and vice-versa. Their interaction
ceases in mid-2010.
What’s Next? May brings Saturn’s return to forward motion, and Mercury’s retrograde occurs over the middle
three weeks of the month. Chiron and Neptune begin their retrograde periods near the end of the
If life is handing you mostly lemons right now, it’s time to change your priorities and make
lemonade. The I Ching calls it another step on the path. We can greet life calmly, living in the
moment, if we recognize that no matter what happens it is just another step on the path. No
matter what life throws at us, we need to stay in our center, keep to our path, and maintain our
inner independence from what threatens to influence us. This does not mean that we should be
inflexible or resist the flow. The art of being in harmony with the universe is to maintain our
internal integrity while responding with flexibility to the forces and obstacles that come our way.