How is it already May? Perhaps it's because, while February and March dragged on with Mercury retrograde and Mercury in Pisces, April ushered in Mercury in Aries, a transit with much more impetuous for quick and impulse movements. More likely, it's the fact that our days are not like any other days we have known as a country, despite our individual experiences: days of endless ambulance sirens and politicians who speak before they think or never think at all. These elements erase time just as much as they stretch it, and while the loneliness of isolation grows in the homes of some, the cacophony of families crowded together drowns out the familiar opening and closing of days for others. I write this knowing that May might not be much different, but we are changing in this moment, too. We are relearning how to be with and away from each other, how to be more discerning about our energy, and how to recognize when we don't have any left to spare. A full moon on May 7 in Scorpio raises the emotional stakes and heightens the disjuncture between what we feel and what we are ready to express.
In May, amid this relearning, we are faced with a Venus retrograde transit on the 13th that asks us to re-examine what we value and how we express our values to others. This is a retrograde that inevitably brings up tensions in close relationships, which honestly feels like a low blow given the circumstances. It's also the kind of transit that encourages us to make drastic aesthetic transformations which, to be fair, are well-timed since a bad dye job can stay your little secret in quarantine. In fact, if the most experimental choices you make this May, while Mars moves from Aquarius to Pisces, are hair-related, then count yourself amongst the conservative few. Of course, the desire to risk more than crooked bangs will be high, but Jupiter retrograde on May 14, joining Saturn retrograde in Aquarius and Pluto retrograde in Capricorn, is good sign to hedge your bets. By the time the new moon rises in Gemini on the 22nd, we'll have a better sense of what shape the summer will take and what (if any) plans we can make with that information. Until then, we have the sounds of the birds returning and generosity of the wind which carries seeds and pollen — and sometimes hope.
If you're angry, Aries, then you're not alone this time. There is a lot to be angry about, and with Mars, your ruling planet, still in Aquarius until mid-month, your anger finds fuel and sustenance in its drive to see the world change. Rebellion has always been strong within you and there's a good chance that this is not the first time in our nation's history when the fires of resistance have been stoked in your heart. Still, few of us have lived through circumstances like this, and with the reins tightening from on high, there churns within you a counterforce aimed to figure out what collective freedom looks like when formed around compassion and kinship.
This month is a good month to honor your anger. Rather than leaking it out into small personal disagreements, where it's wasted and counterproductive, turn toward your anger with passion and recognition. What you suppress suppresses you so learn to hold it and channel it instead. The fire building inside you is powerful and potent, it is alchemical. Collaborative and creative, your fire is not for you alone. On May 7, on the full moon, Mars will trine our North node in Gemini while conjunct Venus. Your fire means to take what you have learned about healing yourself, about resisting false narratives, and forging new tools for old undying wars, and share it with people around you. You want to lead? Lead. When Mars enter Pisces mid-month, the paths you’ve forged out of intuition and faith in yourself will make way for others to follow.
The Taurus new moon cycle that began toward the end of April has ushered in a new self-actualization period for you. Up against a world that is already limited, the myriad ways that you get in your own way might feel a lot less like habit and a lot more like wasting your time. It may not seem obvious to others, Taurus, what with the checking out tendencies (TV, internet compulsions, weed, wine, etc.), but you know that your time is very precious to you. Leisure, resplendence, indulgence, these are yours by right and you earn them with the tenacious unrelenting energy you devote towards your labor of choice. When you work, you work hard, and you're hard on yourself doing it because you know what the best version of something looks like and that is exactly what you mean to produce.
If you refuse to waste your time when your work, only devoting energy to what feels fruitful and aligned with your skill set, if you refuse to waste your time when you rest, fully immersing yourself in the best version of whatever indulgence you prefer, why do you waste your time and energy on people and connections that get in the way of your pleasure and your growth?
By the time the full moon rises on May 7, the tension between what sustains you and what challenges you will be quite high. It is valid to choose the familiar rather than risk a new kind of vulnerability when it comes to your intimate life, but it is painful to cram yourself into a shape you no longer fit. It would be of use to remember that no matter how still you stay, how emphatic you are about not making a choice, there is no inactive option. You impact your life when you act like you don't know what you want, you squander your time.
Perhaps you're a Gemini who's ahead of the game. Perhaps you've devoted a great deal of time and energy to bettering yourself, to shifting your relationship with the world around you and the people in it. If so, then the following few months will help you feel strong and confident in the decisions that you've made. But, if you have doubts, if the shifts you've made aren't taking you where you want to go and all that growing has brought on growing pains that seem overwhelming, the month of May ushers in opportunities for you to parse through the conditions of your life. What brings us joy is just as potent as what brings us suffering. Despite our desire to look for answers in the stars, both our joy and suffering are largely subject to our disposition.
Which is not to say that systemic oppression doesn't exist, or that there aren't circumstances beyond our control which have great power over our experiences. Rather, it's a meditation on emotional response, how it frames your reality, and how you go about framing yourself. When chaos arises this month, whether it's material or internal or both, do your best to imagine a core part of yourself that is separate from its cacophony. Imagine a core self that is powerful with emotional tools, reflective and resilient, that lives in relationship to circumstance rather than at the whim of it. Yes, there is loss, grief. Yes, sometimes you must go against the promises you made to others rather than risk breaking the vows you've made to what you hold sacred in yourself. Yes, the core self struggles to harmonize with the surrounding pitch, fears being drowned out. But, more often, it sings until it is the only note left.
There is the world of words, of language, and the world of emotion. Every day we do the work of bringing one aspect of that world to the other. Language is a tool for connection. It is a cup one dips into the river of things that can only be felt. We attempt to understand each other cupful by cupful which is not so different from the cups we collect privately, in journals and old stories, to understand ourselves. No matter how many cups we get from the river, the river remains mysterious, and it is true that what we know about ourselves changes so, it should be obvious that what we know about others is just as small if not smaller and subject to change.
Perhaps you are the kind of Cancer who has spent your life making allowances for the people around you, stretching yourself thin so that you might pan whatever river water they offer you for something you can resonate with and understand. Or maybe you've grown tired of showing up with buckets of your own emotions, as if you could will someone else to understand you, and finding your intended with wet empty hands. The combination of language and emotion creates an energetic transmission, an alchemical process of which the second step is exchange, witness. A binding force of reciprocity. When the loop is broken, energy flows only one way. If you find yourself tired this month, Cancer, consider how much energy you spend collecting your own emotions and translating them for others. What if, this month, you just stayed by the river for a while and refused the work of explaining yourself or interpreting the responses of others? You have a right to feel what you feel, you don't need to make it palatable or justified.
I want to share with you, Leo, a conversation I had with a Leo friend of mine. I'm thinking about it now as the sun spends time in Taurus and prepares to make an opposition with the full moon in Scorpio. Most of us have been raised in one way or another to prove ourselves to others. There are school exams and agility tests, there are emotional ultimatums, and hazing rituals. There are countless ways, in relationships and in the community, to feel like you are not good enough. When we unlearn these methods, when we recognize that there are different kinds of intelligence and different ways for us to support each other, we create an opening for new and deeper kinds of connection. Learning to create our own rubric, our own standards and measures of success, is hard enough. Let alone, parsing just how much we've internalized.
Which brings me back to "goodness" and the heavy weight of it. One finds that one cannot compare themselves to an idea of "goodness" when goodness feels unfathomable, like freedom. Mostly an idea, and subjective, although we know it when we come across it. Perhaps you have felt it, dear Leo, in the face of a friend who stopped by to see your face from a distance. Or, maybe you've witnessed an act you might register as an act of goodness: one person helping a stranger get up after a fall, gently cupping points of the fallen one's body to secure them into place. Or, maybe singular goodness feels small when so many people are suffering at once. In times like these, when so much of the world is subject to cruelty and greed, it can feel like nothing we do is good enough — like we don't have a right to our own fears and grief unless our losses are direct and undeniable. But, we do. And goodness, if anything, is something we nurture within us. A kind of love. When we move from it, when we use it to survive and sustain others, we don't do it to prove that it exists within us. This month, practice saying "there is love and goodness within me, I am grateful it survives and grows. When I offer it, I offer it in gratitude."
It would be nice if there was only one truth to every situation, and upon uncovering that truth, we could move forward faithfully, assured with validation in what we know. Knowing has always been important to you, hasn't it, Virgo? The development of one picture through many different processes. Do you remember how we used to do it? Approaching the subject, using our thumbs and forefingers as cropping tools, adjusting the focus, approximating the shutter speed and aperture as we took photo after photo. Later, in the dark room, after the chemicals, pulling our film through the enlarger and projecting our image onto test trips for time intervals.
Least exposure of light to most, we chose the balance that felt right.
The development of a truth is no less complex. Two people or more stand before their subject trying to capture not only what they see but what evokes them, a kind of singular and positional understanding. This month, Virgo, when you find yourself suffering from your own truth, try to remember the process by which it was made. There is a history to the lights and shadows you are drawn to, a reason why some words hurt you more than others. Ask yourself what you chose to crop out, what you chose to cast in a harsher light. Yes, you know what you know and your knowing is valid, but there's a difference between honoring your own perception and believing that it is the only version possible. Practice discerning that difference.
There's a lot about this contemporary moment that feels entirely new, even for those who have had to navigate isolation in other ways, or who have spent their lives surviving their own government. To think that across cultures and various relations to resources, people share the same fatigue, the same longing. There is so much that differentiates nations, and the people within those nations, but we are all being tasked with adaptation. To surrender our ideas about our needs and face the realities of them.
Resources, of course, are not just what we claim on tax forms. In addition to what you generate in terms of money, your resources are also what you stand to inherit, and your claim to a home or land. And, for those of us who live without a fiscal net, our resources are most often our kinship networks and our associations. The people you Venmo money with back and for when the month is tight, the friends who remind you that you always have bed, the ex-lover that covers your phone bill, the femme who mentions your name to the right person at the right time. This month offers you the chance to truly sit with your resources, Libra, to assess your relationship to what is yours. If what sustains you seeks transformation, how do you facilitate it? What information or signs would you need to get out of your comfort zone? Is it possible you've already received the push you need?
It's not easy is it, Scorpio, to have the whole world feel unsteady around you when you yourself are going through a major change? If May's aspects have something to say about it, you are most likely feeling the cumulative effects of a slow and steady climb to a precipice at which you stood for months wondering when a push would come — only to find that the flight itself is not dramatic, but rather a lesson in riding wind. When you wait for a change, when you walk the hills listless hoping life might happen to you, you start to imagine that transformation is like fire, like the phoenix your sign is aligned with.
While there are moments that might feel a lot like burning, transformation is more often a private thing — quiet, the way spring is quiet. While becoming intimate with a landscape can provide a kind of expectation — once there was ice on the water and then one day a pad that promises the lily — what grows within and comes through you might be nothing like what you expected. So, hang tight, Scorpio, and have faith. When whatever's coming up gets tangled up in the old stories you carry, go write it out. Assure your spinning mind that your hands have done the work of sorting information so that you can be free to feel what you feel rather than worry about assessing it. I know you don't like murkiness, but the water is clearing up, and when it does, the life below the surface will be worth the wait.
So often written up as the life of the party, the chatterbox, and escape artist, most Sagittarian people tend to find more resonance with the interior-focused aspects Jupiter. The ones who seek to expand their mind and understanding, the voracious readers, lifelong students, and unabashedly curious explorers. The ones who look up the flower of whatever state they visit and have taken classes on at least two forms of somatic meditation. Whatever your Sagittarian truth is, it's likely that this past month has done its work to make of your expansive field a troubled terrain. It's hard to feel faith in abundance when the opportunities that were once limited shrink even more.
It's hard to cultivate peace inside yourself when all around you there is so much grief and loss. You are an animal who thrives in relation and, whether introverted or not, your time with friends sustains your spirit. If you are lonely Sagittarius, let yourself be lonely. There are lessons in this loneliness for you, a chance to narrow your vision so that your expansive terrain becomes the body you live in. This month prompts you to keep developing your relationship to your body and your mental health. It asks you to witness and accept the moments when you withhold care from yourself, to acknowledge that providing care for others is not the same as self-care, to name the moments when oversleeping and checking out function as emotional avoidance. This is not about guilting yourself to be different. This is about recognizing that a pattern is only a pattern, you are the one who makes it and you are the one who breaks it.
You're no stranger to going at it alone; for a long time it felt safer, more sound, to keep what troubled you below the surface while you found a way to make do. Capricorns are good at staying functional when the whole world is f*cked, they know that people rely on them because they have spent a great deal of their lives surrounding themselves with people who need someone to rely on. Logic, if we are willing to employ it, should follow, then, that there is a part of Capricorn that needs to be needed. There is a part of you that feels most alive when it is called in to hold down the fort for others.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with that part of you. It is what some people might call selflessness, a virtue. The trouble with virtue is that it often holds itself above human flaw and human need. If it's true that you thrive when called to help, then it's true that asking for help is a kind of grace, an opportunity that someone offers you to be your best self. This month, you will be given the chance to return the favor — which is not an ominous warning of any kind or a prediction of trouble ahead. The trouble, we know, is already here. Rather, it's a prompt for you, dear Capricorn, to let yourself and your process be supported. You don't need to save up your favors until you "really need them" and you don't have to wait for something to shift from tenable to terrible. You deserve to not feel alone and the people you love to deserve the chance to help you not feel that way.
When it comes to spending lots of time alone, you're a pro. And, it's true that the internet, evils and all, is a kind of playground for you — a place of play and study. Still, even cyberspace girls get the blues, especially cyberspace girls that are given way too much time to reflect on what it is they're doing in the world and who exactly they are doing it for. It might have been so that even before we began this quarantine, you were questioning your work in the world. But as the months slowly trickle by and the distractions get old, your questioning has morphed into a kind of deep internal searching. If you are moved to change how you present yourself to the world, consider that the world has been moving you to do so.
This month, you're ready to put that headlamp on and venture forth from the deep dark cave of your own personal philosophy about "being" into the light of tangible ambitions. If before you felt incapable, if you believed you needed to wait for the right time, if you thought you had more to learn before you were ready to act, you will find that what held you back propels you forward now. It is a sign of a good mind, a curious mind, that you want to keep learning. It is a dependable teacher that also sees themself as a student. Your gifts, whether they be artistic talents, clairvoyance, or the steady presence of a precise mind, are more necessary now than your humility. But it is good that you have both, because both will serve you.
Just because your dream scenario isn't what winds up happening, that doesn't mean your dreams weren't worth conjuring up and nurturing. On a regular day, in regular year, you would know this — but times have been anything but regular. And, while you, more than most, were equipped for days spent shuttered up and tending to the garden of yourself or your loved ones, you might have overestimated your capacity to hold the disappointment and heartbreak of the world at bay while you figured out how to adapt to this new measurement of time, and the fact that while an empire seems to be drowning around us, the ones in power stay in place. In fact, the pressure to adapt to a crisis has you in a tailspin.
You are, of course, mutable, so it's not the focus on change that has you hung up. Rather, your receptivity, your ability to recognize the many ways people are struggling to merge this reality with a reality that was already difficult, might have you resenting the idea that there could be a new normal and that one must perform the act of finding it. You're not wrong, Pisces, and your refusal is justified. But refusal and escapism are not the same. While it's valid to self-soothe with a few trips out of your body or your mind from time to time, it doesn't translate into radical resistance. Revolution, apparently, is not found in the electorate, nor is it found in stirring up emotional conflict for the sake of intimacy. You could join a mutual aid group while you nurture a new dream built on the foundation of all you've learned. If you want to feel close to something again, if you want to feel clarity again, start with yourself and your body. Start small.