All dates and times are UT so may vary in your time zone
May 2018 heralds the next major astrological shift as Uranus, the planet of radical disruption and liberating change, begins its journey through Taurus, the sign of steadfastness and stability. It last made the same shift in 1934, so this is a fresh (and significant) energy for most of us. But more on that later! Alongside this shift, we see four other planets entering new signs this month – including Mercury twice – so change is most definitely in the air!
The overall feel for May is like being on the brink but not yet quite ready to jump! It’s that sensation when the next step has become clear: you know what you need to do and anxiety about the future turns into excitement, but foundations must still be built before you can embark on the next phase. Whilst this picture may not match your personal circumstances, the essence of the current energy speaks of final pieces coming together to support a significant change of direction or pace.
By the end of 2018 the cosmic engine will be revving at a new rate, requiring more refined fuel which we, in part, must provide through our thoughts, choices and behaviours. Saturn journeying through Capricorn until the end of 2020 continually reminds us that every moment of our lives shapes the next and we have significant power over the consequences we reap.
Once Uranus has settled into Taurus in 2019, how well we can live on the edge and neither flinch nor flee will in large part dictate what happens next. So think of this month as a ‘dummy run’. An opportunity to experience something of the future in the present so we can test our mettle against it without risking everything! We still have a safety net, and although we may prefer the thrill of the high-wire without one, we’ll be very glad of its presence if things don’t quite go according to plan!
May begins with Saturn in Capricorn and the North Node in Leo settling into a relationship which continues until October. Helping those who help themselves, Saturn demands a sense of responsibility, awareness of consequences and commitment to truth both relative and absolute! This may feel like a tall order but it never promises easy answers preferring, instead, a willingness to engage with weighty issues combined with faith in our innate ability to do the right thing when the time is right. The North Node in Leo assures us the more we trust ourselves the more that trust will be well-placed, for we have access to all the wisdom we need right when we need it.
From 1st to 3rd May, Venus in Gemini offers a helping hand, providing flexibility and a lightness of touch to ease Saturnian pressure. She reframes the burden of responsibility into an opportunity to exercise problem-solving skills and discover new perspectives. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is simply to see it differently, at which point it may no longer be a problem at all. Bearing this in mind as May begins could provide handy solutions to some tricky situations!
From 2nd to 10th May, Black Moon Lilith conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn creating a potent blend of raw life force and the thrust of evolutionary renewal. As Pluto destroys the old to birth the new, Black Moon Lilith breathes her unremitting vitality into all she touches. This alliance makes available some of the most transformative energies in the universe, but we must take care with such great power in our hands. Pluto will happily destroy all that stands in the way of progress without a second thought, while Black Moon Lilith is already life broken open and in the raw. This combination may blow us away if we’re not careful!
If you prefer a gentler process of change, use this energy to remove tenacious cobwebs clinging to the corners of your life. Refuse to indulge obsessive thoughts that seduce you back into past pain or old habits. Be prepared to re-evaluate that long list of things you think you need to be happy and pare it down to necessities. The more space we create in our lives the better, for Pluto in Capricorn will have its way eventually, sweeping away all that binds us to fears and fantasies which skew our alignment with the Real.
Between 3rd and 9th May, the Sun sextiles Neptune. Providing softer background support, it feeds our imagination and uses creativity as a restorative force. The all-encompassing embrace of Neptune in its own sign of Pisces brings acceptance to our fear of change. We can call upon this alliance between compassion (Neptune in Pisces) and stamina (Sun in Taurus) to root ourselves in our own creativity, weaving magic with the elements of our world. We don’t have to languish at the mercy of imposing forces of change but can instead claim our part in them, owning our creative power to rebuild where necessary and restore when needed.
4th May sees Jupiter in Scorpio form a trine to Neptune which continues throughout the month, inviting us to explore our deeper, darker emotions. It’s safe to do this despite our fears, for only in feeling them fully can we know them as friends who speak truths we need to hear. Avoid over-indulgence in emotional states now, but don’t shy away from how you feel. Emotion is simply energy. When channelled well it becomes a source of great wisdom and strength.
Between 6th and 11th May, Jupiter’s opposition to the Sun reminds us to ground ourselves when exploring the emotional realm and draw strength by connecting with the elements. Walk bare foot on the grass, swim in the sea, lie on the ground and look up at the stars. We are part of this amazing world, not detached observers or entitled owners. The energy of the waves, the force of the wind, the movement of the planets, all is alive within us and we can draw upon these forces to shape our own destiny if we choose.
Between 7th and 26th May, Mars squares Uranus. This can be an explosive energy which takes some careful handling. Get your wise head on and self-discipline in gear! If you need courage to take action and break through obstacles it can be your ally if used well. The unremitting force of Mars in Capricorn meets the explosive power of Uranus in Aries which tolerates no restriction to the pursuit of freedom.
Conditions which bind us to the past or inhibit us in the present can be eradicated now, but this is best done with an eye to outcomes! The risk of snap decisions and spontaneous outbursts is high, and whilst they may be precisely what’s needed to clear the air, they can also unleash a whole host of trouble we hadn’t banked on!
As Uranus approaches its entry into Taurus on 15th May it’s eager to reach those deeply entrenched parts of us which are so very hard to shift, making us itch for change in ourselves and others. But as mentioned earlier, we’re teetering on the brink here and not quite ready to jump, so be prepared to tolerate some frustration. It’s all par for the course.
Rest assured change is already upon us even if it doesn’t seem that way. Have faith, stand firm and keep on keeping on. If, on the other hand, you know in your gut change is needed right now, then make it. Mars and Uranus will help you out, even though outcomes may be hard to anticipate. Stay open to re-thinking plans if necessary and expect unexpected results, even from something you thoroughly thought through beforehand! The unanticipated has come to stay and there’s really nothing we can do about that except pull up a chair and welcome it in!
From 8th – 15th May, Pluto offers support through a trine to the Sun in Taurus, steadying us within the prevalent maelstrom of unpredictability. This energy roots us deep into the earth, enabling us to stand firm and strong whatever conditions prevail. Call upon it if you feel vulnerable or unable to take charge of matters important to your well-being. Reminiscent of soft warm soil on a Summer’s day – rich, nourishing and brimming with life – it prompts us to stop striving for a while, sit still and let life do its thing. It knows what’s needed and where, better than we do! If you’ve been pushing yourself too hard, this is a cosmic invitation to rest and trust that doing so is all part of the creative process. Nothing and no one can live at full speed forever!
A sextile formed by Mars in Capricorn and Chiron in Aries between 11th and 30th May further reminds us that healing comes in all shapes and sizes. It both takes time and happens in the blink of an eye. It may feel like hard work but relies on inspired faith. It’s a serious business benefiting from a light-hearted approach. Being able to step back and relax is just as important as getting stuck in and doing the work! This alliance between Mars and Chiron highlights easier ways to achieve our goals and lightens the load so what felt like a chore becomes something altogether more bearable!
13th May sees Mercury enter Taurus where it remains until 29th. Useful for dealing with facts and figures, this Mercury is less attuned to the more nuanced realm of emotion and perception. If you need to discuss thoughts and feelings at this time, bear in mind that a subjective opinion may be received as an objective truth. It will be harder to find the inter-personal space that allows us to express one thing one day and something very different the next. ‘But yesterday you said….’ may be a common refrain as communication becomes less about sharing and more about establishing baseline incontrovertible facts! If there are tricky conversations to be had during this time, be clear about what’s a passing feeling and what’s an enduring reality. Otherwise an ephemeral emotion expressed in the moment may become a lasting feature of how we perceive each other in the weeks and even months to come.
15th May sees a New Moon in Taurus. Aspected by both Venus and Eris, this moon speaks to the many faces of the feminine and how we can best integrate them into our lives, no matter who we are. The masculine/feminine dyad is changing exponentially now, and Eris’s recent conjunction with Uranus assures us there’s no going back.
A re-calibration is afoot which has already exposed countless abuses of position and power enabled by the enduring influence of patriarchy across all areas of private and public life. This new moon occurring just a few hours prior to Uranus’s entry into Taurus heralds the next stage of this process. Inviting Uranus into the first earth sign of the zodiac – sensuous, grounded, nourishing – this Moon reminds us that our planet herself is a living goddess, our Great Mother. How we treat her reflects how we honour the feminine throughout our lives, throughout history, across the world. If she is nothing but a source to be exploited we will struggle to recognise the unique spirit that lives in each of her creatures, in her rivers and oceans, land and sky, in ourselves. This is a living death which enables the exploitation of our planet, and all life upon her, in the name of business, of the economy, of ‘progress’.
This isn’t progress, and Uranus’s arrival in Taurus a few hours after this new moon heralds the beginning of an eight-year period during which Mother Earth will push back like never before. We simply cannot afford to take her or her bounty for granted a moment longer. Every mouthful of food, each sip of water, every lungful of air is a blessing to be thankful for. By honoring an enduring commitment to caring for Our Mother and all her children of every form we dismantle, piece by piece, the patriarchal mind-set that equates aggression and domination with power, and love, compassion and generosity with weakness. The inevitable outcome of which has been the positioning of this planet as a resource to be exploited at every turn.
16th May sees Mars arrive in Aquarius where it turns retrograde at the end of June. Aspecting Chiron as it does so, this shift of Mars illuminates the power of the mind in the rectification of our lives. In Aquarius, Mars energises mental processes which can be useful for some of us and less so for others! If your head is often full of racing thoughts Mars in Aquarius may enhance this tendency, so it will be important to rest the mind when you can. If, however, your mind struggles to keep up on a good day, Mars’s arrival in Aquarius may be just the tonic you need!
But no matter who we are, this Mars encourages innovative thought and a willingness to come at life from a new angle. It reminds us that knowing how our mind works, taking charge and using it well is a fundamental skill required to consciously evolve. Without it we simply do the same old thing repeatedly, getting the same tired results and wondering why nothing changes.
Venus enters Cancer on 19th May, remaining there until 13th June. This Venus is gentle, nostalgic and protective. She cherishes those deemed family, be they blood relations, lovers, friends, animals or a cause close to her heart. She is sentimental, bestowing a protective love which nurtures a sense of belonging. Her joy is found in intimacy with the beloved away from the cut and thrust of the everyday world, safe and secure in her own cosy space. Amid this intense time, Venus in Cancer provides us refuge in the form of those who understand and care about us, warts and all! In turn, we become a refuge for them too. This mutual creation of a safe and loving space allows for poignant intimacy that touches us emotionally and spiritually. The more people who can become this refuge for others now the better, for we can all do with some nourishing love and care from time to time…
The Sun enters Gemini on 21st May, connecting with Mars and Chiron as it does so. Its month-long journey through the sign of the twins supports Mars’s mission to renew minds and refresh perspectives. With its lightness of touch and butterfly nature, the Sun in Gemini helps us evaluate different ways of navigating the world without committing to one in particular. Try being someone else for a day. Think new thoughts, respond in new ways, even walk and dress differently! Make life a game and discover which rules you can break. See it as a film and choose a new part. If it’s a musical, dance through your days.
How does it feel to embody these new ways of being? All too often we lose this lightness of touch and life becomes a weighty affair! The Sun in Gemini reminds us that a bit of fun thrown into the mix can make the difference between flopping into bed exhausted but satisfied or just plain old burn-out; between the overwhelm of anxiety and the excitement of engaging the unexpected and changing our life.
Saturn opposes Venus between 23rd and 27th, reminding us that life has many faces and love many forms. Tough love can be as heartfelt and compassionate as the most sympathetic and sensitive kind, and it may be exactly what’s needed now in the interests of balance. Saturn in Capricorn challenges any tendency to feel so deeply for another that their pain becomes our own. It reminds us the most meaningful support can be pragmatic and grounded rather than sensitive and emotional.
We may be needed as the rock to which others cling rather than the sponge which soaks up their tears. Whilst our heart may well-up in witness to their pain, holding our own on solid ground renders us infinitely more effective than sacrificing objectivity in the face of their suffering. In its opposition to Venus, Saturn reminds us that love comes in many guises and the tough kind, when born of a compassionate heart, can be the most restorative of all.
29th May sees a Full Moon in Sagittarius illuminating the power of an optimistic attitude and positive outlook, not in denial of life’s challenges but as a way to meet them head on, breaking through them to a place of change. Something can shift with this Moon: we can climb out of a rut, change an old pattern, adopt a new behavior. Moon in Sagittarius values wisdom born of life’s experiences, translated into understanding which fortifies us for the road ahead. Occurring alongside a Yod formed by the Sun, North Node and Saturn, we’re reminded that our personal destiny is inextricably linked to that of others and meeting our responsibilities with a buoyant heart and a pragmatic perspective can make the difference between a life of meaning and one of emptiness and regret.
This Full Moon reveals the outcome of recent attitudes, for good or ill. If we’ve begrudgingly walked through life feeling hard done by and put upon, we may feel impoverished right now, devoid of the companionship and support we desire. If we’ve connected with others open-heartedly and sought to support and assist them in times of need, we may find ourselves amidst a community of supportive souls forming an interconnected web that nourishes everyone. Wherever we are at this Full Moon we can trace the roots of current conditions in our recent past and make decisions accordingly to shape our future.
A few hours later, also on 29th May, Mercury enters its own sign of Gemini where it remains until 12th June. In Gemini, Mercury responds with lightning speed, moving from one thing to the next in the blink of an eye. It affirms the importance of a flexible mind which can explore, question and discover, or simply detach and move on. It insists we reclaim our mental sovereignty and choose where our mind takes us, not the other way around!
Mercury in Gemini alerts us to information that’s available now, but we need to be attentive to discern what matters from mere habitual ramblings! Perhaps we’ve been telling ourselves something for a while but haven’t listened carefully enough to get the message. Maybe some information which came our way a while back needs better scrutiny. Maybe a realization is forming which will change our perception. Whatever the message and however it arrives, our current task is to use the mind as a conduit for wisdom, not as a channel for anxiety, fears and forebodings.
May 2018 ends with a Grand Trine in Water to balance out all this mental energy and earthy pragmatism! Forming on 30th May and lasting until 3rd June, this alliance between Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter in Scorpio, and Venus in Cancer, reminds us that a balanced life is born of emotional intelligence alongside wise understanding and practical application of insight. If sensitivities abound as the month comes to a close allow yourself and others space to experience and express emotion. Feelings now may be confusing – clouding rather than clarifying matters at hand – but still they must be heard. In expressing our inner world however we can, a deeper and more poignant message may be revealed that would otherwise be missed.
Specifically, this Grand Trine illuminates how we serve as conduits for thoughts and feelings passed down through generations as much as those we generate within ourselves. In the final days of May we’re encouraged to embrace whatever needs to be felt and heard, however illogical it may seem. It may be the missing key to a part of ourselves we’ve overlooked, or simply an energy traveling through us on its way into the great void. There’s no need to cling or identify with our emotions right now, but honoring them as they pass will help bring this month to a peaceful and compassionate close.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
Sarah Varcas is an intuitive astrologer with a passion for applying planetary messages to the ups and downs of everyday life. In doing so she aims to support people in their personal and spiritual development, making available celestial wisdom which may otherwise be inaccessible for those without astrological expertise. Sarah has studied astrology for over thirty years alongside an eclectic spiritual path spanning Buddhism, contemplative Christianity and many other diverse teachings and practices. She also offers an online (via email) Self-Study Astrology Course. You can find out more about Sarah and her work at www.astro-awakenings.co.uk.