An Earthy Intermission


Please don't bother trying to adjust your screens, my dear viewers.

The phenomenon you'll soon be experiencing, though not properly an 'illusion', holds the promise of leading you to falsely assume that (for lack of better terminology) 'things are calming down'.

The deceleration you may lately begin to observe is due to the dual movements of Venus and Mercury into the both-feet-tightly-planted-on-the-earth sign of Taurus in the coming week (on Wed Mar 31 and Fri Apr 2, respectively). Shortly thereafter, next Wed Apr 7, Saturn retrogrades out of Libra and returns to Virgo, another earth sign… to further influence us toward slowing down, reviewing our facts and figures, insisting on practical results (or, at the very least, reassuring progress-reports), and catching our breath after an abruptly fast-acting couple of weeks.

On one level, I'd like to be able to honestly proclaim that we'll soon be settling into a more reasonably paced phase of history… some moment markedly different from these ever-heightening-pressure-filled moments we're starting to become way too accustomed to, when it doesn't feel like time keeps speeding up (whatever that means). On another level, however, I have accepted that such modest stability is not what this era is all about, nor what it's arrived to teach us.

Thus, let me be the first to tell you: Don't be fooled. Any passing whiffs of rational moderation, retreat to the familiar, or restored maintenance of 'how it's always been' are just that—passing. A few grounding indicators are no competition for the larger sea-change already underway.

That said, while we do have a brief respite of earthy pragmatism, we really ought to put it to good use. After all, as May bleeds into June and then into July, we'll have fewer and fewer opportunities to pause and check if our heads are screwed on straight… and then to apply those screwed-on heads to a careful-and-considered survey of the surrounding landscape. We won't have the luxury of reasoned forethought. We won't have the time, it'll seem. We'll be acting more and more on instinct, pressed to respond in an instant or risk surrendering a chance to spontaneously pursue an awesome possibility or otherwise insert ourselves courageously. That's not, incidentally, a bad thing, but it's bound to make certain stiffer personality types extremely uncomfortable, leaving them without their cool contemplation to fall back on.

Venus in Taurus, dignified and secure, is a godsend for our reconnection with the material realm. She pulls in what her senses crave for sustenance, but is only satisfied with the tangible. An elegant turn-of-phrase, an abstract intention or I.O.U. banked on future potential will not do the trick. During her 3 weeks in Taurus (through Apr 24), Venus helps us get concrete. Try shaking the support beams, and test their strength. Count your money, organize your bills, and know exactly where you stand. Contrary to resistant airy-fairy mindsets, it's crucial to have a grip on your current earthly status… especially so you can determine what you've got at your disposal to work with, and what else you need. It's really hard to make more when you refuse to look clearly at what you already have—and don't have. Reality is an incredible motivating force.

Then there's Mercury in Taurus: the quintessentially stubborn bull-head, one which will not make any hasty leap of logic without the fuller understanding, some compelling evidence or proof, time to chew. This slowed-down rate of opinion-forming and decision-making that comes with Mercury in Taurus ('are you sure? are you doubly, triply, quadruply sure?') will only be exacerbated by his upcoming retrograde, from Apr 18 through May 11. Mercury's already within the retrograde shadow by next Sunday (Apr 4). And in the short term, we should count on our brains becoming increasingly resistant to the kind of quick-fire change that life increasingly demands of us, lagging behind our impulses and emotions, desperate for an explanation for why we've got to do what we know we've got to do, anything that makes sense.

The explanations, alas, won't be available. We'll have to do without 'em for now. Thanks to the retrograde, Mercury will be in Taurus until early June… by which point Mars will have changed signs for the first time in nerarly eight months, Jupiter and Uranus will have both made it to Aries and formed a conjunction, Saturn will be direct again, having recently opposed both Jupiter and Uranus, and lots will have already changed. Don't be surprised if, before then, you have a hard time finding the right words to describe where you're headed. The proper descriptions likely don't yet exist. And 'sense'? Feh.

In the immediate sense, please beware of Venus's and Mercury's double squares to Mars—yes, still in Leo—during this first week of April. While (according to what I've just written) this earthy intermission is supposed to be slowing down our more impractical motions so as to reestablish our connection with grounded reality, Mars in Leo continues to want what he wants when he wants it. Wherever we are unconscious of the split within us, between (1) conservative reason and (2) self-satisfying action, we're apt to project one of the squaring entities onto someone else. (In other words, we'll get snappy or salty with another person for either thinking too narrowly or behaving too selfishly, whichever urge we aren't owning in ourselves.)

Saturn, meanwhile, will be back in Virgo through July 21, revisiting themes from its recent two-year transit (Sep 2 07-Oct 29 09) that refocus us on the finer day-to-day details of the habits we keep. In the midst of the world's reinventing of itself, we might easily evade the bigger and scarier questions by reattending to relatively smaller tweaks in our more personal processes. Yet, approaching the fourth exact peak of the Uranus opposition (on April 26), Saturn in Virgo still lacks a broader perspective on just what that elusive pull toward rebellion and revolution really signifies. By the fifth and final opposition in late July, after Saturn's back in Libra and Uranus is in Aries, those acts of rebellion and revolution will have become more obviously visible to the naked eye.

There's never really a 'break' from something astrological happening, since the planets always keep on moving, at their different rates through their concentric orbits, giving us endless new chances to respond to evolutionary pressures. That's particularly true now, when the sharp alignments between the planets are converging into history-making configurations. The month ahead offers us a moment's earthy intermission (relatively speaking, of course) to regroup, before we head further and faster into the dynamic unknown of new creation. Line your ducks up in a row, and take inventory. Put together budgets for your money and time. Think it all over, while you can…