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Mute swan (Cygnus olor) gliding across a mist covered lake at dawn. Amazing morning scene, misty morning, beautiful majestic swan on the lake in morning mist,

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry
from The Peace of Wild Things

We spend so much time in our heads in this technological culture of ours that we tend to forget how closely aligned our bodies are with the natural world. We are inextricably tied to our planet and the web of life it supports, entirely reliant on the fruits of the fertile Earth to feed, clothe, and shelter ourselves from the awesome powers of Nature, which can both heal and destroy.

This is a month to remember those connections. To re-align ourselves with the rhythms of the natural world, find healing for ourselves and our communities, and, as Wendell Berry suggests, rest in the grace of the world.

This month also features planetary placements that can help us get things done but may tip over into outright conflict. Strategically managing this energy can make the difference in how the month ahead unfolds.

I’ll go into more detail about how we can work with these planetary patterns, but first I’ll take a few paragraphs for the astrologers among you. Feel free to skip over the italics if the technical stuff doesn’t interest you.

(Astrologers: Cast the chart for May 7, 11:22 pm EDT. I’ve set it for Washington D.C. which makes it predictive for the country. You can choose to set it for your own location, just remember to adjust to your time zone.

The first thing to note is the stellium of 5 planets in Taurus — The New Moon itself at 18°, Venus (in her domicile), Uranus, and Jupiter. The New Moon is widely conjunct Venus, more tightly conjunct Uranus and Jupiter. The Moon herself is exalted.

Mars, too, is in his domicile, Aries, along with Mercury, the North Node, dwarf planet Eris, minor planet Chiron, and asteroid Hygeia. Mercury is tightly conjunct Chiron.

So we have Venus’ sign of peace and plenty activated, as well as the sign of the original action hero, Mars. Backing up into Pisces, we find Neptune, just a few arc minutes away from crossing into Aries (though it will go retrograde before it does), and Saturn at 17°, sextile the New Moon. Finally, a retrograde Pluto is in Aquarius, semi-square to Saturn.

Running the chart ahead, watch for Mercury moving into Taurus May 15th then squaring Pluto, Mars conjuncting the North Node, May 19th, and Jupiter moving into Gemini on May 25th, then perfecting the trine with Pluto a few days later.

Note also that the Moon, Sun, Venus, and then Mercury will be moving into conjunction, first with Uranus, then with Jupiter and the fixed star Algol over the upcoming month. Algol has a reputation as the most feared star in the Zodiac, bringing death and destruction. Its location in its constellation is known as “Medusa’s Head”. But some astrologers are studying this star in light of the reframing of Medusa’s myth from monster to dark goddess who offers protection and power. [Here’s one example].

It will be interesting to watch how this parade of planets crossing Algol will play out in the world. I expect issues regarding women in or gaining power, patriarchy, and magical transformations to be in the news, along with outbreaks of destruction, not all of them human-caused. Jupiter is already in orb of conjunction, and the current news reflects it.)

pink water lily

A Restorative Interlude

Among all the conflict and craziness of our world today, it’s important to remember the joy, love, and beauty that are an integral part of life here on Earth. This month offers us a restorative interlude, a bit of time and space to nurture and appreciate those gifts if we are willing to slow down and be attentive to what brings us delight, pleasure, and soul-level satisfaction.

What makes life worth living for you? It’s unlikely you’ll find it in the pixels of a screen. We’ll have opportunities for some much-needed peace and reflection to help us remember our values, to re-connect with the natural world, to check in with our bodies, and build up our mental and emotional strength.

But there are constant jolts of change in the air as well. And you’ll be better able to steer the changes if you take full advantage of the opportunities for reflection. When you need to make decisions to take action in the face of change, if you are clear about your values and clear in your mind, the decisions are much easier to make.

This month’s planetary patterns invite us to be attentive to what opens our hearts to joy, to love, to a larger spiritual reality, and then invite more of what touches our hearts into our lives. Yes, life can be tough. Bad things happen. But if we nurture joy, love, beauty, wonder, creativity, then we strengthen their presence in the world.

The brutality, selfishness, and ignorance that brings humanity so much pain still needs to be contained through conflict and confrontation. The causes of that conflict appear on many different battlefields, from boots-on-the-ground war to the more subtle ones of psychological manipulation, physical and emotional abuse, environmental destruction, and greed.

Containment is a stopgap that makes space for healing. It takes courage to stand up for what we believe in, to set solid boundaries, and stand against destructive forces. Maybe your work is to fight for containment, or maybe it is to create healing. Maybe both. But the work you can do, the gifts you bring to the world are needed. Right now. It’s time to gather your courage, step up and step into your own power to create change in the world.

This month, take time to re-center yourself in what’s really important to you. Look clearly at where you are, and where you want to go from here. Identify and start to gather the resources you need to build a better life for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

Crystal ball on snow

Creating a Touchstone

If you spend some time seriously considering how you might want to re-align your life over the next couple of weeks, you’ll probably have some significant insights, encounters, breakthroughs, and synchronicities. It’s how the universe participates in aligning your life with your intentions.

This is also where the process of bringing ideas into reality often goes off the tracks. If you ignore the insights, brush off the encounters, forget the breakthroughs and deny the synchronicities, then old habits return, and with them old, problematic patterns of thought and action.

To keep yourself from slipping back into old habits, to maintain your focus on the changes you are working towards, it can be helpful to create a touchstone, a physical object (preferably an actual stone) imbued with your intention, perhaps with some appropriate symbols drawn on it, that can help keep you on track towards the changes you want.

You can approach creating this touchstone from a purely psychological standpoint, letting the process of creation train your brain, or take a more magical approach, bringing in elemental forces and spiritual assistance. Or both. It works either way.

I’m not going to go into detail about how to create a magical touchstone. (Though if enough of you request it I might write up some instructions, and astrologer-magicians should note the Venus/Saturn sextile and Sun/Uranus conjunction perfecting within hours of each other on the 12th -13th if you want to elect a time.) But I want to emphasize the reason I suggest this work.

The astrology of this month is powerfully focused on the element of Earth, specifically the sign of Taurus. You can use this energy to gather resources, to assess the practical realities you need to deal with, and to invite joy and delight into your life. But this is a busy year, full of change and unexpected happenings, and it’s going to be easy to get distracted. A touchstone is like a storage battery for this energy, and it will help you stay focused and grounded as the rest of the year unfolds.

As always, if you’d like some insight into your own chart and how the current planetary patterns are affecting you, contact me, and we’ll set up a consultation.

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