April’s beginning is the end of summer – aptly symbolized by the clocks going back an hour in New Zealand and Australia on the 1st of the month. We’ll all feel the tinge of depression that accompanies the suddenly shorter days and deepening darkness – especially as the astrology now is a little ‘heavy’.  But by the 4th we’ll sense a lightness, a relief – as Mercury’s return to Direct motion coincides with Venus’ shift into Gemini. Time to get moving now; the slackness we’ve been experiencing, inwardly and outwardly has done its time and the call is to stop making excuses and start implementing plans. Mercury is tailing through Pisces until the 17th however, so we have a couple of weeks to dream a little before things really get going – with its shift into Aries that day.

Mars has been going backwards too, since January – and on the 14th it begins moving full steam ahead.  In Virgo Mars going retrograde has impacted the collective, inducing a self-critical attitude – we’ll be glad to see the back of. This ‘I’m not good enough’ feeling piggy-backed Mercury retrograde very conveniently – resulting in a paralysis of confidence and will to act, out in the world. I for one, am looking forward to this shift of energy in mid April – and the removal of (self-imposed?) obstacles.

But firstly, the Libran full Moon – of course at Easter (like all Christian festivals – Easter is astrologically derived – it is dated for the first Full Moon weekend following the equinox). This full Moon sees Saturn joining it – and opposing Vesta; hints of ‘issues’ in our relationships then.  Full Moons are notorious for bringing up the ‘pain body’ – and of course our nearest and dearest are usually the first to feel the effects of that!  Saturn going retrograde in Libra has been turning our attention towards the refinement of our relationships (make or break perhaps); and this lunar energy is going to stir the pot somewhat. Vesta is asking us what we are willing to sacrifice for our commitment to our relationship?  Where can we focus and how can we purify our energy. Self-centredness is likely to trigger discomfort, under this influence.  There is a need to ‘be bigger’ in all our dealings with others – or we will pay the price.

We see the asteroid goddess Ceres shifting into Taurus on the 10th. Ceres is about nurturance – how we nurture ourselves and others, the earth, ecology, agriculture.  It spends a considerable time in each sign – so this ingress into the sign of Taurus is significant: Taurus itself, being an earth sign and intimately connected with nurturance, sustenance, comfort. Its correlation with Cere is obvious.  We might anticipate becoming more conscious of what we need to do to nurture ourselves – especially with winter coming on.  Hot and nourishing food, healthy soups and vegetarian dishes (from Ceres we have the word cereal) as well as creating warm and comfortable homes, all help to nurture our spirits. Simple things like clearing and beautifying your bedroom, relaxing in a hot, candle-lit bubble bath, cooking a delicious meal – these are the practices we can choose to bring into our daily lives to help nourish the soul – and get us through the long months of winter in the best shape we can.  Soul food benefits us on a physical level too; you are less likely to catch winter ailments if you take time to rejuvenate your spirit……..in doing so, acknowledging Ceres, mother/earth goddess – and her reminder to nurture your Self.

This same day (10th) we see the Sun conjoins another asteroid, Vesta. Vesta was the goddess of the living flame, the virgin goddess of home and hearth. Her retinue, the Vestal Virgins were a sacred order filled by the daughters of the ruling class – in charge of the precious fire. The principles of focus and commitment made Vesta the most revered goddess – the burning heart at the centre of the home. Her placement in the chart shows where we can be most dedicated and focused. As well, she speaks of issues to do with sexuality, intimacy, sacrifice, devotion and commitment.

With the Sun illuminating the goddess Vesta, these issues or principles may suddenly loom large in our lives.  Where and to whom are we most committed? What are we willing to sacrifice for our commitment? Where are we not sufficiently focused and what do we need to do to remedy that?

If you are feeling that focus is something you lack, keep in mind the shift in energies a week from now and get your ducks in a row, ready to make changes now. Everything starts at the level of thought – thought is the creator. What is it that you feel drawn to direct your energies towards?  If you feel confused about the answer to this – have faith that with Mercury and Mars’ change of gear, the answers will come to you. But first, you must ask the question.  ‘Ask and you shall receive’.  This is the perfect time for formulate some questions.

On the 11th Pluto turns retrograde. This energy is about looking again at our shadow side. What have we been burying under the carpet, hoping it will go away? Wherever Capricorn lies in our chart is the clue. Capricorn – hard work, ambition, achievement – to name but three. Have we been ‘afraid of our own success’ perhaps? Have we been reluctant to be all that we can be, and put ourselves out there? Or perhaps your fears lie somewhere else entirely. Pluto’s backward movement is an invitation to face the fear, wherever it is, and move past it.  In Capricorn – grit your teeth and just do it!  Fear has a tendency to dissolve, when looked squarely in the face. Ask yourself: ‘what’s the worst that can happen’……    And remember, it is all just game. We are here for the experience, and nothing more.  We’ll make mistakes, we’ll get it wrong. It doesn’t matter.  Our issues, our old karmic patterns, past traumas and dramas will loom large at times in our lives – but if we can just hold onto the truth: nothing here is ultimately real – nothing except the love.  It is all a holographic illusion (including astrology by the way – but that is another story)…..  we believe is real – but it is not.

The New Moon this month falls on the 21st – with the Sun moving into Taurus the day before.  This New Moon is quite slippery –with a number of celestial bodies in mutable signs. So despite the ‘fixed’ nature of Taurus, there is a feeling of confusion and uncertainty about. The best antidote is to ground yourself – in whatever way suits your nature. It might be cooking, or gardening, wood-chopping and carrying, child minding, cleaning; it might be having glass of wine (alcohol believe it or not can be grounding – in the right measure of course). Probably my Piscean side was revealed in that last suggestion.  Practical action is useful now – and will ease feelings of uncertainty.  And as always, the energy is available now, with the New Moon, to go within, meditate, formulate your intentions, your goals, for the month ahead. If you know where Taurus lies in your chart – you can direct some of them towards this area of life.

On the 25th we have Anzac Day, a public holiday. The Moon is now in Gemini and it is holding hands with Venus – so a nice, light energy prevails.  Enjoy the day then – in warm, social, conviviality. Share your thoughts, listen to others and celebrate life – toasting those who have gone before us – knowing they, like us, are infinite consciousness – having yet another experience.

Be well, joyous and grateful!
& keep warm.