Happy Aries seasons, star babes. Understanding the amount of Mars energy flowing over us this spring gives new perspective to the word sprung: Sprung as in infatuated, as in hot and heavy, and in hard for, as in two rams locking horning and spinning till the lift up off the ground.
Mars moves in Gemini this month, while Mercury shifts out of its retrograde transit and into Aries. Venus, too, moves into Aries and, for many of us, fighting and fucking will be par for the course. There are, of course, other aspects at play, retrogrades afflicting the outer planets and shifting our collective energies, a new moon that's raring to go it alone, and another full moon in Libra. You know, just in case we needed a second chance to evaluate the ways in which our codependent patterns keep us just a hand's reach away from true intimacy—which moves beyond fear and shame, which recognizes love as a place of accompanied self-love.
Why not take that second chance? They don't come around very often.
Happy birthday, unruly ram, and blessed solar return. The season of your arrival is the season magnolias open across this waking Earth. Of all blooming flora, magnolias and jasmine alone emit a fragrance that floods our receptors and stimulates our limbic systems, evoking something like lust. It's an erotic aliveness, your nearness and your becoming; you're not unlike a magnolia tree—reckoning with unpredictable weather, opening into a catastrophic climate—claiming your birthright, which is an unstoppable beauty.
Beauty, you know, is not always elegant. It is often cruel, like April is cruel with its “memory and desire, stirring." Beauty need not be chased in books, bodies, or the caverns of the wild—though it can be. It's tethered to you, regardless of your sentiments and misgivings. It comes to you in the form of grace, the forgiveness you offer to yourself and to others for the seasons when nothing grew and so much died. Death and disintegration is what brought you here and it is your task to start again.
Change is life and change is your charge. It can feel relentless, exhausting, to pursue life after life after life when death is always waiting. But, there is no one else who has the firepower and the drive to do it as powerfully and wholly as you. Do you feel awake today, Aries? Do you feel conscious of all your possible selves? Can you feel the grace of the grief you carry and make of it a fertile darkness? May the change you initiate wake you into a world abundant, a world of magnolia trees that smack you in the face with their fleshy lust.
We are none of us alone, Taurus, especially not a herd animal such as yourself. Even when separate from your kin, your heart beats in unison with the collective. It drums an old song that reminds you of the ancestors in your blood. Do you hear it? Are you listening? If not, then know this, what's been calling you back to places of rupture is the beat of collective healing. What's been summoning you to your old stomping grounds and abandoned dreams is a dream of wholeness. In this dream, angels are all around you whispering a mantra, "everything is yours, you are part of everything."
This is what I want you to practice saying, Taurus: "Everything is mine." Hold the words in your wise mouth and imagine them outside of possession, outside of ego or pride. This is a sentence about love, about reclamation. The streets, cacophonous hormonal teenagers and staggering with men holding their whole lives bundled in small black plastic bags, these are yours. The irreverent all-year-green of pines, the intrepid snow drops, and the Easter lilacs, yours. The life you are leaving behind because it longer moved you forward will always be yours and the life you are walking toward is big and bright and mysteriously yours too.
As you get older, the spin of the Earth feels faster and there will be days this month when time will feel against you—too fast, too limited. And, there's a good chance you'll let your years convince you that time is something that you've lost. But you'd be wrong. Time, too, is yours, and you have lost nothing. It's all inside you. Write it down, dance it out, anything you make from this moment on is sacred. Doesn't that feel right?
Walk don't run, Gemini. In the West, wayward oglers make pilgrimage to California's super-bloom and on the Northeastern front, the energy of spring breaks the Earth open. The cries of baby birds fill the air with ecstasy and the air, in turn, fills you. Hold on. You don't need to speed up to meet Spring's arrival. Spring will meet you where you are. Mercury shifts into Aries and out of its retrograde shadow. Mars moves into Gemini and turns ravenous for communication, connection, creative collaboration, and touch touch touch touch touch. Mars moves into Gemini like a creature that has, upon waking, discovered it has hands and those hands yearn to rid themselves of emptiness.
Hold on. Things look different in the light and light is coming. No need to fill those hands with what you can't yet see. No need to fake it 'til you make it this time around—speeding through recovery, speeding through the process by which all good-hearted people learn the truth of their good hearts—a quiet ecstasy is ecstatic nonetheless and clarity begins with small careful adjustments, lens by lens.
Just move at the pace you're moving, Gemini, and I promise that the time of your arrival will be the perfect time. Trust the process. If it is hard, let it be hard. If there is guilt, if there is relief, then there it is. Emotions are not facts but they are real and they are teachers. So be a student, study yourself and trust that there is a lot you don't know. Gemini, it might be hard to believe but, what you don't know is a blessing.
It's never a bad idea, dear Cancer, to commit yourself to the present. Being present is not simple. It takes concentration and it takes practice. It means admitting that half of our suffering arises out of the stories we continue to tell ourselves. The stories about who we are and who the people we love are. Stories about other people's interiors, stories that involve a lot of "shoulds" and "could haves." Stories that refuse to face what is now in service to the past: yearning for and regretting what was then, and the future: mourning what won't be later, what we imagine the future will lack.
But, what do we really know about the future or the interiors of others? Pluto retrograde reminds us that what we can't know is what will teach us humility. What we can't know is what will ultimately make all our suffering a diversion, a misuse of our power.
Suffering is human, however, and it reminds us we've veered away from the present. It reminds us that we have work to do. No shame in work. Some of that work, for you, might be assessing your resources. A resource is something like a safety net but not quite. Safety nets stretch out below us anticipating our possible fall. One is born with a safety net or one is not. When one is not, love and friendship can give us a kind of safety net—but it's not always guaranteed. Resources, on the other hand, are living and changing things. They require presence. One must see the river in to drink from it. Look around you, Cancer, is there something you've been seeking that has been available and abundant this whole time?
There's this song I like to sing with some Leos I love, a Dar Williams song called "After All." It's a song about waking up from Depression with a big D. A song that acknowledges that healing is not linear, nor is it necessarily obvious. Once, years ago, walking behind my Leo friend, I sang to myself, "Go ahead, push your luck, find out how much love this world can hold..." and she sang back, "Once upon a time I had control, and reined my soul in tight." We continued on in this way, singing back and forth to each other down a long a narrow forest path.
Leo, if you are out there fighting for you life—fighting to feel it—your efforts are not wasted, even if they result in fire. Fire is a cleansing force, you know this, and surrendering to it might be the best way through. Or, perhaps your burning days are tapering now, perhaps you're digging through ash for signs of life. If so, look up to the sun, my love. Life is a sign of life, it's all we've got.
Now, almost a decade later, near another Leo friend's home, listening to a river stream, the song returns to me piecemeal. I sing what I know and when I hit an empty space, I look up at the branches swaying with wind and I am reminded that water is moved by wind and creates wind in turn. I look up at the sun, and it blinds me softly before slipping behind fog. All around us is proof that a living being's worth cannot be measured by their production or their response to crisis. All around me are birch trees boasting fomes fomentarius, a mushroom that serves as tinder for fire. There are things in nature that have hidden powers. You are one of those things.
With Mercury finally direct in April, and shifting into Aries, it might be a tempting time to charge headfirst toward whatever seems most promising. It might be more than tempting for you, Virgo, if your late winter was a time of financial instability and emotional uncertainty—states we know are almost never separate under the all-encompassing capitalist powers that be. Despite temptation, there is a part of you that knows Mercury retrograde's shadow lingers over all of us and, accompanying that shadow, a sense that this month, too, is a month in review rather than a month of action. And, it's not that you shouldn't move forward.
It's not that you're barred from shifting the scene if the scene isn't serving you. It's just that there are times when reaction does more harm than good, when patience will take you a lot further than pursuance. You might find the month of April to be one of those times.
However, trying a little patience can be easier than done, I know. Especially, for someone who might feel like their patience has been tried for far too long. Especially for a service-oriented Virgo sweetie whose labors, creative, emotional, and even physical, appear to have been overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel like you have something in common with a person like that, it might help you to remember that not all accolades take the form of material awards and rewards. So it's important, dear Virgo, that you don't jump to conclusions about what or who comes your way. Sometimes celebration of your efforts comes in the form of quiet trust and sometimes it comes in the form of opportunities that have been in the works secretly and for some time.
There are countries where the self is formed within the collective. Whole cultures where the idea of the individual is a false idea, belonging to a Western delusion. Delusion of independence, of our successes and our failures, hinging entirely on our singular actions and lives. There are benefits, of course, to being part of these cultures. But, there are also drawbacks. A sense of duty to the collective at its most powerful is a commitment to social justice and accountability, the seeds of socialism, the dream of a common language. But, duty to the collective can be its own delusion. The social construction of a shared identity, the violence and erasure of that notion. How what is shared can turn easily into what is owed and what is expropriated.
Libra culture, especially western Libra culture, is the mediation between the socialist and so-called democratic state. The scale the considers the individual vote against the universal good—whatever that is. On a social level, this work can be exhaustive and exhausting. On a personal level, it is not so different.
Libra, like all star signs, you have personal objectives. There's no shame in claiming a self, no failure in putting that self first. The dream of a common language is a dream none the less and, as such, can only be served in theory and can only be served for so long before the servant finds herself de-realized in her efforts to sustain everything except her own material self. This month offers you energy to do serve your highest good while also offering you another chance to fill your own well before summer comes on with it high hot demands. Take both offers up with equal interest and equal devotion.
This month, Pluto, your ruling planet, retrogrades in Capricorn. This is not a new transit. In fact, Pluto retrogrades every year for approximately five months. The last retrograde occurred in 2018 from April through September. Think back, now, to the prevailing energy of that time. Aside from the varied events, occurrences, and opportunities, was there a current that carried you through those months—a sense of self? Or a personal quest? Pluto's power is transformation and it's not the kind achieved in one week with the aid of five queer men (one of whom only like shirts when they're tucked in the front like theatre's grand drape). Pluto's transformative power comes through surrender and, with pluto in the driver's seat, when one has not learned how to surrender, one is made to learn.
While Pluto's yearly retrograde transit is not in your sign, it has an affect on most Scorpios whether or not it makes powerful aspects to your natal chart. Imagine it as a kind of immersive experience, anything from themed saunas, to sound healing, to light bathing. The mood shifts and your attention shifts with it. Toward what? A driving desire to sit quietly with yourself until the voice that is hardest to hear within you feels comfortable enough to speak up.
A wanderlust. A wandering eye. A yearning that seems to spout from an ineffable fount but, if followed, can be traced to a core part of yourself that demands to be given space to grow and expand. If you can feel this energy stirring building within you this month, if you have felt it building for some time, I encourage you, Scorpio, to give it as much rein as your life allows. Where you see limits against your expansion, investigate your limits. Respect only the ones you have set in your best interest. Reimagine all limits you have set in anticipation of failure. Anticipate your ascent instead.
With Jupiter (your ruling planet) retrograding on his home turf (your sign), April might not be the month that moves you from park into drive. Understandably, this stall in energy can create frustration, especially in someone as intrepid and future-oriented as yourself. The lag between what is intended and what gets done need not affect your desire to plan and the pleasure you find in envisioning. While Mercury deals with messing up our calendars and our email chains, Jupiter retrograde wants you to investigate your angles and shift your perspective.
Jupiter Rx loves a good travel plan just as much as you do, Sagittarius, it just wants you to make sure that what you're seeking isn't something you'd be better off cultivating within yourself before attempting to find it somewhere out there.
This April, instead of focusing all of your energy on where you'd rather be and what you hope to gain through study and perseverance, imagine that there's a destination within yourself that you've booked a flight to and there's no double-booking allowed. There you go and here you are: a place where parts of you have been suspended for a long time—accruing ancient wisdom and infinite patience—waiting for attention and alignment. Can you make the time, my archer, to honor this moment with your arrow down and you sensitive pony ears turned toward an old, familiar, sound? No matter your gender expression, this is a divine feminine call, this is the gift of knowledge-light-fire. Light your touch, Sagittarius, we are all going forward, none of us are going back.
If you are a regular reader, you might have come to expect my mentions of the divine feminine principle and its ascent in our energetic sphere. This will be a good time, then, to remind you that expectations are a wonderful path toward lessons in flexibility and multiplicity. Capricorn, this month the divine masculine principle plays a powerful role in the path you walk, a catalyzing and essential element in your journey. This is not unusual for you since although your sign is considered Yin, Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and fills the tenth house. This rulership and placement is associated with the father, the consort, and the divine masculine.
Recognizing that this energy and power flows through all living beings is essential to understanding what limitations we have built around gender and what right masculinity has the potential to be.
Saturn has been in Capricorn for some time but in April it retrogrades. This transit will not be short, nor will it be simple. Saturn isn't interested in short cuts. Saturn wants you to walk a righteous path and it aims to teach you what the word righteous can mean in a world that begs for god and rejects god at every turn. The overwhelm you feel is not an exaggeration. The weight of this shadow is a weight more divine than it is mortal. You have every reason to feel exhausted and yet you have every reason to keep on. What comes to mind now is pa'lante and what this word has meant for the Spanish-speaking people who have chanted it in protest and in passing. In the wake of Hurricane Maria and in all the ways tragedy ruptures our daily lives (and I am thinking of Hurray for Riff Raff's "Pa'lante"). What words have you inherited that raise you into resistance against tyranny and against despair? What songs? What rituals? Remember them now. Revive them now.
Are you at the mercy of your context, my dear Aquarius? Have you found yourself glittering wobbly, like a small planet that slipped off her axis to dip one side into the Milky Way? Imagination is the place and the destination this month. A languid stroll through space and time where all attachment-styles are practiced and none of them are fixed to your current iteration. A yearning to rest, not in what you have been all this time but, in your many possibilities. Brava, Aquarius, you alone can drag a corporeal self into the the land of dreams while simultaneously dragging dream fabric into the corporeal world.
While the intangible quality of where you're at might have felt like a hinderance for weeks, things shift this month. The stumbling block of reality yields to the truth of existence—that parallel worlds are real, that another world is possible—and you've been right where you should be, preparing to take it all in.
Whether or not you believe in spirit, what accompanies you through this time is a force larger than your understanding. All this time, you've been walking along the edge, drawn to what is not yet known to you. This month will not be the month of definitives nor will it be the months of answers. But, if you are willing to trust your intuition, if you are willing to give your imagination credit for its power and the life force that springs from it, you will find that the formlessness that once plagued you was a gift. To spread until you found your perimeter, to expand into the shape you were born to take.
How is it possible to be the strong friend and the sweet friend all at once? What space has this world carved out for the ones of us who ache to show up? Always ready to offer triage and tenderness while simultaneously refusing to show weakness or ask for care?
Yes, you are the one who calls a trusted confidant at 9am demanding the final word on a failing relationship, asking if you've done the right thing the night before. And, you have trained your friends well enough to know that whatever advice they offer you'll hardly take it, what you're seeking is the experience of the situation reframed through the lips of someone else.
And, yes, you are the one that speaks candidly of your hours soaking in Epsom salts, your losing battle against pain which stems from some ineffable place and radiates through your muscles and your bones. To speak candidly of pain before a recording device before shutting the recording device off, to post a singular line about a private pain, these are not in and of themselves practices in vulnerability. In fact, there are ways in which these testaments, these cards laid on the table and then raised, can act as wards against vulnerability. You have had this amount of intimacy, your offerings seem to say, this amount of intimacy is more than enough.
It's true, your offering are more than enough and you need not bare yourself anymore than you have, dear one. This is by no means a challenge or an accusation. Rather, it is an invitation to real intimacy, should you yearn for it, should you feel that being the sweet friend all the time has left you with a taste of bitterness. Intimacy, I've read, is not about sex. Nor is it about what you reveal when you're vying for emotional recognition. Rather, it is the ability to bring your truth to someone else—not the cards you hold but the reasons that you hold them—and allow that truth to sit between you with perfect trust.
My sweet friend, my strong friend, if this world has not carved a place for you to be both, find people who will.