Change, like love, means many different things. Within all of the various loves we feel in the many relationships of our lives, there are categories - deep love, respectful love, playful love, love with a distance, love with awe, a nurturing kind of love, and so on. Similarly, each experience of change is unique on one level, and also falls into certain categories. Astrology describes the categories of change through several layers of symbolism - from the death and rebirth of the ever shrinking and growing moon to the disintegration and redemption of Neptune, and beyond.
Why so much change? Because that is the nature of nature.
Listen. There is no static sound - only sounds that come and go through time and space. Look outside. Nothing is still. Not the plants, busily building matter out of sunlight. Not the stones, with their molecules dancing beyond our range of perception. Not our planet, which flies through space at the humble speed of eighteen and a half miles per second while also spinning like an inexhaustible whirligig.
And yet there are parts of us that resist change, that try to hold fast to what is, or even to what once was. Astrology has names for that too: Saturn, earth signs, fixed signs, and sometimes even the changeable Moon craves stability or holds fast to a memory of the past.
Here are a couple rules of thumb you can keep in your pocket for this solar month:
Change always wins... eventually
Love always wins... eventually.
I've added a couple new features to this blog - a chronological "Cliff's notes" version of the major astrological events of the month, directly below, and suggestions for herbal support in green print, peppered throughout the writing.
Chronology of the Solar month's major astrological events:
Generally, you'll find things to be sticky and wily between 5/20 - 5/27, and tense yet illuminating throughout the first week of June.
5/20 - Sun enters Gemini - honor your curiosity & drink oat straw tea
5/21 - Sagittarius full moon, conjunct retrograding Mars - question your perceptions & beliefs
5/22 - Mercury stations direct - hang on a moment while we adjust our mental & perceptual dials
5/26 - Jupiter squares Saturn - adjustments & commitments towards a future we can truly believe in
5/27 - Retrograding Mars re-enters Scorpio - start digging
6/1 - 6/4 - Venus & the Sun form a mutable grand cross with Jupiter, Saturn & Neptune - stay present, and support your nervous system, drink oat straw tea
6/4 - New Gemini moon in a grand cross - make a wish for clarity of perception, belief and goal
6/9 - Sun squares the degree of the powerful solar eclipse on 3/8 - take stock of how things have developed from the events and intentions of that time period, & make adjustments as necessary
6/13 - Neptune stations retrograde - develop a compassionate awareness, especially of yourself
6/17 - Saturn squares Neptune - dreams & reality face-off: make choices & practice compassion
6/20 - Summer solstice, sun enters Cancer - to be discussed in next month's post
Sun in Gemini: 5/20/16 - 6/20/16
When the sun transits through Gemini, it's time to learn and share - talk with people, attend or teach classes, read and create about what interests you, and follow your curiosity. Gemini is the mutable sign that transitions us from the awakening whirl of spring into the more relaxed expansiveness of summer.
What are you curious about now?
What have you lost interest in?
We have a few bits of complicating grit in the Gemini machine this year:
1, Mercury, the ruler of Gemini, is retrograde (more on that below) and also moving very slowly in the solar month's inception chart. Even though Mercury will station direct on 5/22, we will continue to feel some of that internal, re-thinking, re-evaluating quality of this influence throughout the solar month (until 6/20).
The main herbs for this solar month:
Oats - straw or buds as tea, or oatmeal as food. They coat and nourish the nerves, which are associated with Gemini
Holy Basil, a.k.a. tulsi - drink as tea, or take as an extract; calms the nerves, and improves the body's use of oxygen. Gemini is also associated with the lungs, so this herb affects a couple of Gemini body systems.
Reishi mushroom - take extracts, or add the mushroom to broth; supports the lungs, adrenals, immune system, and nerves.
Grand Earth Trine Continues & Deepens
2, That slow, retrograding Mercury in mid-Taurus also forms a grand earth trine with transformative Pluto in Capricorn and expansive Jupiter in Virgo. All of these planets are moving slower than usual, and are in earth signs, which have a plodding nature of their own. A couple months ago, I wrote about this spring feeling like we're all doing our best to swim at full speed through a pool full of jelly. This combination of the flit-about-butterfly character of Gemini mingling with the slow-steady-snail character of earth at a virtual standstill is a continuation of that under-current of the spring.
However, grand trines do lend momentum, and in particular, grand earth trines encourage the manifesting of tangible results. It's just that these results will come slowly, or shall we say...
What is moving and building slowly in your life right now?
What do you value and/or love so much that you don't care how long it takes to realize it?
Is it worth your energy to keep the stop-start endeavors that lack internal momentum rolling?
Herbs for steadying your progress and developing patience:
We have a couple planets retrograding in Sagittarius, which rules the liver, suggesting it's time to support that large & important organ. If you're feeling frustrated with the slow pace of things, you may consider grounding yourself and supporting your liver with a blend of burdock root, yellow dock root (quite bitter, but good if you tend towards anemia) and/or dandelion root.
Holy basil is also helpful for inspiring a calm and open-hearted sort of patience, especially if you are feeling grief or heartache.
Full moon in Sagittarius: 5/21/16 (2:14 PM PDT)
The moon apexes very close to retrograding Mars in the sign of the centaur-archer. Look up at the moon tonight. That little red dot nearby, bigger and brighter than most of the stars, is our neighboring planet, Mars. Take a moment to honor or at least consider how these elements are currently manifesting in your life: Sagittarius, the centaur, who bridges the animal and the divine; Sagittarius, the archer, who aims for a specific yet distant target; Mars, the warrior god who evolved from an agrarian god, and how growing and fighting are merely two expressions of striving, action, and care.
And beneath and above and beyond and through it all, consider that one universal element that drives you to strive, that is your actual target, and that forms that bridge between your animal and divine natures. The real question at this full moon is not about what you think (Gemini) or what you believe (Sagittarius), but rather about what you know beneath all of those pesky layers of mind.
What do you love?
Don't say you don't know, although you might be afraid of the answer. Deep down, everyone knows what they love, even if they spend their whole lives avoiding it. Full moons illuminate what is normally hidden, so they offer opportunities to peek into the deeper caves of the heart.
A number of challenging influences in this full moon chart suggest our confidence could use a little boost.
Herbs to help build confidence:
Borage for courage, stamina and optimism when you think you cant' go on
Eleuthro is an excellent motivator and confidence builder
Gentian flower essence or single drop doses of gentian tincture renew faith that's been blown by too many hard knocks.
Mercury stations direct: 5/22 (Retrograde since 4/28)
The two most frequently asked questions of an astrologer:
1, What astrology books do you recommend?
2, When does Mercury go direct?
This time around, Mercury stations direct on Sunday, May 22nd at 6:20 AM PDT. That does not mean everything will be Mercurial business as usual at 6:21 AM on 5/22. It takes Mercury about a week to get back up to speed, and then we will be going through the customary post-retrograde clean-up as Mercury makes its third and final pass through the shadow of its retrograde cycle, all the way through the first week of June. Here's what to look for during that clean-up period:
What and whom do you value?
Do you value yourself?
How do your values affect your perception?
How do your values influence the way you communicate?
And because Taurus is a manifestor, these may also be some fruitful considerations:
What do you believe about money?
How do those beliefs reflect, create, and/or deny your financial situation?
How do your perceptions shift when you exchange the word money for the term congealed energy?
Mutable T-Square continues
All spring, we have been under the growing influence of a tense and change-inducing configuration called a mutable T-square. This influence, as expressed by the current players - Jupiter (change through expansion), Saturn (change through effort) and Neptune (change through dissolving and then reforming in a new way) - will go through several peaks and valleys of effect through most of July. One of those peaks occurs as Jupiter exactly squares Saturn on 5/26.
These are the two social planets, each of which has a different take on the future. Jupiter in Virgo urges us to expand our efforts and expertise through choosing work we believe in, and believing more deeply in what we do. On the other hand, Saturn (the devil's advocate of the solar system) retrograding in Sagittarius, calls into question why we are doing what we are doing, and bids us to build lasting structures that exemplify our ideals. In true Saturn fashion, we may first need to tear down existing structures in our minds, in the tangible world, or both.
Meanwhile, Neptune shimmers its elusive light into this configuration from the distant reaches of the solar system, sometimes inspiring us with unifying visions, and sometimes filling us with despair and disillusionment.
What activities and relationships build both from and towards your ideals?
What activities and relationships impede or distract you from what you believe in?
What triggers you into escapist or avoidant behavior?
What grounds you into the present as you build towards the future?
Mars re-enters Scorpio: 5/27
Mars has been retrograding in Sagittarius since 4/17, urging us to question what truly inspires us, and what we are willing and unwilling to take a risk on.
On 5/27, the game changes as Mars revisits the transformative depths of Scorpio. Scorpio asks that we go through a complete make-over, including both a death and a rebirth. In the case of Mars, this will effect our willingness, our physical stamina, and our desire nature. Mars' retrograde ends on June 29th, but the red planet will remain in Scorpio until August 2nd. Throughout this time, you may notice a repetition of themes that came up for you when Mars last transited through this portion of the zodiac - mid February through the first week of March, 2016. Scorpio always requires digging, so aim to delve beneath your usual reactions and responses to the questions below:
What are my deepest desires?
How do I exert and/or hand over my power?
Am I suppressing and/or over-exerting any aspects of my sexuality?
What is the underlying purpose of this particular body-and-mind, existing in this particular time-and-place?
New Gemini moon: 6/4 (7:59 PM PDT)
The sun, moon and Venus are tightly conjoined with each other, all activating a tense grand cross configuration with Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. This configuration, which has been activated throughout the past week, involves six out of the ten major bodies used in astrology. This will be pretty uncomfortable, as we feel pulled between our mundane work, our vaster beliefs, our spiritual, romantic and/or artistic longings, and our immediate needs, communications, and gettings about.
Grab your calendar right now, and write this into your June 4th box:
TURN OFF YOUR PHONE, WRITE OR DRAW IN YOUR JOURNAL, TAKE A RELAXING CHAMOMILE AND OAT BATH, AND GO TO BED EARLY.
With the mutable signs activated, this is a time of managing and tweaking what we already have going in our lives. New moons indicate a time of going within to obtain clarity of purpose and intent, but grand crosses tend to stimulate pulls from the outer world - from many directions at once. Since Gemini, which correlates strongly with the nervous system, is highlighted, our nervous systems will really need support throughout the first week of June, while this configuration is most active.
Herbs to support your nervous system:
Drink tea made of oat straw &/or oat buds, eat oatmeal, and put oats in your bath to nourish your nerves.
Lemon balm, sage, and holy basil build inner strength and support, and also soothe the tummy.
Chamomile is good if your edginess turns into whining or angry outbursts.
Chamomile and Catnip are especially great calming herbs for children.
Skullcap and vervain are less tasty, but have a higher nerve-calming octane.
Hops, skullcap, vervain and passionflower can help quiet your mind at night to help you sleep.
because Gemini loves riddles...
If both change and love always win (eventually), are they actually two expressions of some greater unity? And if so, what would that be?
We'll explore the zeitgeist of summer 2016 as indicated by the solstice chart, wrap up Mars' retrograde cycle as the warrior god makes its third & final pass through the shadow of its retrograde, dive into another round of tensions in the mutable portions of the heavens, plus whatever else strikes my astrological fancy come the time to write. Thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to share this post as you see fit, drop me a line if you have any questions or comments, or schedule an appointment if you'd like more personalized insight. Wishing you an inspiring and eye-opening month,