Anticipating April


If you keep up with my update articles, you've probably caught more than one reference to extremely bumpy astrology headed our way in April. Guess what? That's now only a month away.

This perfect-storm of contributing factors—namely, (1) a very-tightly-orbed cardinal grand cross between Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto, (2) while Mars is still retrograde in Libra, a sign of his detriment, (3) smack in between two eclipses—is just the sort of configuration that's had us astrologers chatting and conjecturing well in advance. (For example, horoscope queen Susan Miller says: 'April's so scary that I'm giving classes on it.')

But I've also been around this block enough times to recognize, sometimes the astro-happenings we beforehand herald with the most sensational hype, in the end, come and go with surprisingly little fanfare… though, to be clear, that's not to say they proved insignificant. I try to keep a safe distance from the business of stirring fear responses by giving power to doomsdayish predictions, for I'm not sure what value it provides to warn that the sky is falling when we all still must live under that same sky each and every day until it really does fall.

It is wise, however, to warn against surprise disruptions to our standard daily expectations—without going so far as to assess whether this is a god-sent 'catastrophe' or 'miracle', for meaning is largely assigned in the translation—in order to prepare ourselves for swerving off-script, upturning habit, and adeptly responding to whatever shows up, with instinct, resourcefulness, and courage.

My last distinct memory of such a hyped-up astrological picture (other than the groundless worries about the Mayan calendar, and possibly human existence, coming to an abrupt stop on Dec 21 2012) was a similar cardinal convergence which occurred in mid-2010. At that time, (1) Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct in Aries, (2) opposing Mars conjunct Saturn in Libra, with both (3) squaring Pluto in Capricorn… a combination which I referred to at the time as 'drama-queen astrology'. After these aspects passed without any supervolcano eruption or invasion of little-green-men-from-space, I wondered aloud (in an article I titled 'My Cardinal Climax Was a Dud, and I Want My Money Back') whether our lived reality had indeed fallen way short of the anticipatory hype. And yet, in retrospect, my write-up clearly contained prescient allusions to issues—e.g., intensifying corruption of the US government by moneyed interests, increasing degradation of our environment through human-made ecological disaster, authoritarian intrusions upon free journalism—which have only become that much more urgent in the 3 years since.

Goes to show, when strongly transformative astrology first hits us, the spectacular burst of transformational events we anticipate doesn't necessarily appear as much. Rather, it's more like the seeds of transformation are being spread and sprouted, only to reveal what exactly they will grow into over the subsequent span of time. This will be good to remember as we arrive to April's anticipated events.

My other memory of such a big astrological moment: In August 1999, there was another dramatic grand-cross configuration—in this case, it was a total solar eclipse (Sun/Moon conjunct North Node) opposing Uranus, with squares to both Mars and Saturn—which had been well-publicized (and, likewise, feared) by many astrologers in the community. This happened prior to my becoming 'astrobarry', when I had just finished my Master's degree and was facing a crossroads. Would I stay in thrilling New York City after school was done and begin building a new life for myself there, or would I return to my adored hometown San Francisco and reclaim the life I'd left behind a year-and-a-half earlier? The decision-making process was intensely emotionally charged. I ultimately chose to return to SF because I felt as if I were being pulled back there, by invisible forces larger than I understood. Once I returned, all the pieces of my recovered California life fell into place with incredibly little effort. But it wasn't until two years later, on September 11, 2001, that I experienced my 'a-ha!' moment. As I watched the Twin Towers fall, I instinctively reflected back on my experience of August 1999 and knew, deep in my bones, I hadn't been destined to be in Manhattan during this world-altering drama. (I would've totally lost my shit. Though I enjoyed my time living in NYC, it just isn't 'my place'.) Only later did I discover other astrologers had drawn the same direct link between the Aug '99 grand-cross eclipse and the subsequent events of 9/11: When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, Venus was at the exact degree (nearly to the minute, even) of that eclipse.

At such crossroads, we may palpably sense the profound importance of choosing to follow one route over another... though simultaneously may not, cannot, fully know the life-defining repercussions of our choice. But nor can we stand frozen at the fork-in-the-road for too long, fearful of committing to any choice at all; this just tempts fate to definitively shut down one option or forcefully push us into another, whether or not it's what we wanted. Despite the inescapable unknowns, we've got to just head the direction our gut is aiming us.

In session after session lately, I find myself counseling clients who have felt stunted or stuck in a life-circumstance to, at last, grab back the reins of agency and plan on decisively taking some standstill-shattering action during the month of April. I base all my individual counsel on the client's unique birthchart and transits, of course, but again and again, the data's yielding these same results. April's crossroads-worthy, life-redefining assertions of personal will are apt to be startling in how rapidly and robustly they'll generate responses, results, and repercussions.

The Sun spends the first week of next month (Apr 1-8) in Aries, conjoining Uranus while forming hard angles to the other three grand-crossing planets (i.e., Mars, Jupiter and Pluto), then Mercury in Aries makes the same moves mid-month (Apr 14-16). This frames the first half of April as our most excellent time to proactively embrace Uranus-flavored risk-taking, even knowing it's likely such daring directness will be challenged by competing factors… whether an intensified reinforcement of the existing power-structure (Pluto), an emotional tug at the heartstrings (Jupiter), and/or the irresolvable uncertainty about whether all of this is really what we want (Mars).

There's no denying this is a bit like maneuvering your way through a minefield toward the pot-of-gold up ahead. But, yes, that is a pot-of-gold over there, a well-deserved reward for the quick, brave, and responsive among us. With benefic Venus exalted in Pisces (beginning Apr 5), both conjunct Neptune (Apr 11) and trine another exalted-benefic Jupiter (Apr 17), during this time, there will indeed be plenty of magical blessings sprinkled among the disarray like colorful Easter eggs, easy to overlook if you don't fine-tune your consciousness accordingly and/or you fall prey to panic.

A full-moon lunar eclipse on Apr 15 brings these energies to an apex, ushering in the month's unruly second-half, during which all the corresponding reactions and effects and aftershocks continue to refigure the playing-field. Astoundingly, all four starring planets form their grand-cross aspects to exactitude within the tight window of just four days (Apr 20-23), to be capped off with a new-moon solar eclipse on Apr 29. By the time May begins, we could well feel like we're dealing with a whole new world in many ways… one which may understandably take us the remainder of the year to become properly familiarized with. But though that's a lot to anticipate, I don't believe it must serve as a cause for fear.