My Year-Wheel Tarot Reading for 2020

Happy New Year and may this new decade bring vibrant health, joy, prosperity, and love to us all! Per my time-honored tradition, before commencing my revels last night I sat in silent contemplation, reviewing my notes on the yearly forecast Tarot reading I did for 2019 to gauge my accuracy and then doing my reading for myself for this year.

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My Year-Wheel Tarot Reading for 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! Last night I performed my time-honored divination ritual, casting my 13-card Year-Wheel/12 Houses of the Zodiac Tarot spread to see what 2019 has in store for me month-by-month as well as filtered through the aspects of life experience denoted in the zodiacal 12 Houses of Western astrology. I carved some space and about an hour to myself amidst the revels at a friend’s house, and I think he and his two adorable Havanese dogs (sisters from the same litter) proved to be good luck charms for my reading, as I haven’t drawn such an awesome spread in a long time!

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Hail and Welcome, Powers of Fire and Earth! The Astrology of April 2018

The Cardinal Fire Sign of Aries has three planets in its sign as this dynamic month kicks off: the Sun, Retrograde Mercury, and Uranus in the final degrees of its Aries transit. Aries energy is the creative spark, of harnessing Elemental Fire in the service of birthing the new; energy wholly aligned, if you work with the Runes, with Kenaz, the torch:

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The major themes of this month pertain to the Elemental energies of Fire and Earth, and how those two Elements relate to one another through the planets transiting and forming aspects to one another through Signs governed by those Elements: we’re largely concerned here with Aries, Capricorn, and Taurus. Water gets a shout-out towards the close of the month with a very powerful Scorpio Full Moon, one which has a lot of benevolent, stabilizing, and supportive aspects to it because of the positive relationship between Scorpio as a Water Sign to the Earth Signs of Taurus and Capricorn.

The Dynamic “Square Dance” (See What I Did There? Ha!) Between Aries and Capricorn

As Signs, Aries and Capricorn sit at a 90° angle in relation to each other in the Zodiac. However, there is one key ingredient that helps them “play well” with each other this month: the presence of war-like Mars, ruler of Aries, currently transiting Capricorn and forming a conjunction with Capricorn’s ruler, Saturn, for the first six days or so of the month (the conjunction is exact on April 2 at 8° of Capricorn).

 

The planet Mars is actually exalted in Capricorn, meaning He really, really likes to channel His energies there. Remember, Mars rules Aries, a Cardinal Fire Sign that is great for initiating projects–several projects simultaneously, in fact–but not necessarily seeing them through to completion. That’s where the stabilizing power of Saturn comes to the rescue: Saturn, transiting His home sign of Capricorn for the next two years, affords the structure and stability needed for that Martial Fire Energy to shape things into being that will have real staying power. Mars-conjunct-Saturn ensures endurance and persistence, yoking the strong work ethic of Capricorn (the folks in the Zodiac most likely to be known as “Workaholics!”) to Aries’ drive and leadership proclivities. The initiatory energy of Mars meets the long-term support of patient Saturn, and, in true alchemy, what ensues is a metal as lasting as iron or lead, tools for us to use in formulating the structures for what we most want to manifest for the long run.

Of course, there’s a “darker” aspect to this conjunction of these two planets. After all, in the Classical world, they were known as the “Malefics,” and one viable interpretation of Mars-conjunct-Saturn (in the ancient world and now) is the misapplication of this constructive energy into the destruction of war, as well as add combustion to more localized outbreaks of violence. The news headlines have been keeping us busy on this front, naturally, at least here in the U.S. with crazies (of every gender) going off on shooting sprees more times than one is seemingly capable of keeping track of.

Anyway, adding His Cosmic Monkey-Wrench into the mix is fleet-footed Mercury, Lord of Commerce and Communications, doing His Retrograde dance in Aries, a Sign He doesn’t particularly care for to begin with (although, to be fair, He prefers being in Aries to drowning in Pisces, in whose cosmic oceanic currents His thoughts get lost entirely). Retrograde Mercury, ruler of Earthy Virgo and Airy Gemini, is entirely capable of calling to a halt the kinds of life-building plans you’d like to put into effect from the Mars-Saturn conjunction. It may seem like you’re making progress one day, only to have a metaphorical (hopefully, not literal!) brick wall slam up against you. Travel plans can and often do go awry and infrastructures related to support communications suddenly fail: we’re talking server crashes, losing important files (digital or hard copy), dropped calls, road accidents, you name it. As always during any Mercury Retrograde period, back up important files, confirm messages for clarity, give yourself plenty of extra time when traveling, and take many self-care breaks to stave off the irritants that will undoubtedly get to you (Mars in Capricorn strongly suggests physical exercise to combat stress: punching bags at the gym are the best option!).

The Mercury Retrograde period, which technically began on March 22, really began on March 8 when He was at 4° of Aries. What were you going through on March 8? How was your life at that time? It’s an important detail because when Mercury turns Direct on April 15 (Tax Day in the U.S.!), He will be at…drum roll, please…4° of Aries! That’s where He began His Shadow entry point from March 8! But Mercury won’t be out of His Shadow period until May 3, and by that time He will have reached 16° of Aries.

What does this mean? More than anything, astrology is the study of cycles; what Mercury’s Retrograde period really translates into, when we encompass the pre-Retro Shadow period begun on March 8 and exit the post-Retro Shadow period on May 3, is that Mercury will be bringing karmic lessons: dangling before you, front and center, whether you like it or not, the lessons you didn’t learn from the events you were experiencing around March 8. It’s important, also, to know the degrees of planets in your natal chart: pay special attention to see which ones fall at the 4° and 16° mark (give or take a couple of degrees). Those planets and the signs / houses they occupy in your natal chart will be the life-themes being triggered by this whole Mercury Retrograde Shadow period. (If you would like me to cast your natal chart, that is one of the services I can offer you as a professional astrologer, along with a transit report for the rest of the year so you can learn which energies to maximize and which negative ones to mitigate. Email me at jackalmoondesigns@gmail.com)

So, to recap, on the one hand we have Mars-Saturn conjunct in Capricorn, encouraging us to go full steam ahead with plans and giving us the energy, leadership acumen, and the stamina to see them through to completion; on the other hand, however, we have Mercury Retrograde in Aries, warning us that the best thing for us to do is review where we’ve already been and not kick new things off until April 15 at the very least, or May 3 if you can wait a little while longer.

This push-pull dynamic can certainly be frustrating, so use your judgment as to how much you can realistically pull off (Saturn in Capricorn) given whatever hiccups (Mercury Retrograde in Aries) might surface. As annoying as this period can be, it can also be profoundly rewarding if you keep your goals realistic and work towards them with discipline and efficiency, the real gifts of the Mars-Saturn conjunction.

The Goddess Venus Lends Us Some Grace!

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Botticelli’s Renaissance masterpiece, The Birth of Venus. Image from Wikipedia.

Like a heroine rushing in to the rescue, lovely and golden Venus, very much loving the current transit in Her sensual home, the Fixed Earth Sign of Taurus, is here to encourage us to surround ourselves with creature comforts, especially the Taurean loves of money and the pleasures it can buy, outdoor pursuits like gardening, and gourmet goodness! (Diet, shmy-et! From here on out, counting calories is forbidden!)

She helps us all heal from our Mercury Retrograde-induced headaches with a wonderful pair of positive energy trines: first, Venus in Taurus trines Saturn at 9° of Capricorn on April 7, and then She trines Her lover, Mars, at 11° of Capricorn on April 9. The overall stabilizing, sensual, and life-affirming joie de vivre lasts from the 7th to the 10th. Make the most of these juicy energies! (Tip: Venus trine Saturn favors investing in art. And you don’t need me to tell you about the sexual fireworks that will ensue with Her trine to Mars! Yeowza!)

Rounding out the other Venusian aspects to other planets, we have Venus opposing jolly Jupiter in Scorpio on April 16–more sexual fireworks!–and Venus will trine powerful Pluto on April 17. This can bring power dynamics in relationships to the surface, so, especially while Mercury is still Retrograde, be clear in your communications with your sweetheart(s) on what your needs are, listen to his/her/their needs, and vocalize what turns you on! You’ll thank me for it.

Aspects That Expose Secrets in the Corridors of Power

Mid-month, we’ll be having a couple of planetary aspects that serve to flush out previously hidden dynamics where sexuality and power intersect. The Aries Sun squares Pluto at 22° Capricorn on April 10 and 11, and Jupiter in Scorpio will sextile Pluto in Capricorn on the 14th. So much of what we’ve already been seeing in the news headlines about the #MeToo movement and sexual scandals in the political sphere will be fueled by these two transits, which are all about shining the spotlight on abuses of power that were previously kept out of (public) sight. Pay attention.

Aries New Moon on April 15

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The New Moon in 25° of Aries will be exact on April 15 at 8:57 p.m. CDT. It will be an exciting Moon of shock-and-awe developments because of the support from a tight conjunction between the Aries Moon and wild-card Uranus in His final degrees of being in Aries (Uranus enters Taurus on May 15). Cliché as it sounds, expect the unexpected. If this dynamism weren’t enough, the Aries Moon will be squaring powerful Pluto at 21° of Capricorn, really encouraging wholesale personal transformation. Aries is the Sign of the Self. How do you want your Selfhood to evolve? What practical (Capricorn) steps can you take to see that through? That’s what this lunation is going to be about.

Mercury Turns Direct on April 15 as well.

On April 17, Saturn will Station Retrograde at 9° of Capricorn, a transit that lasts until September 6. Any perceived Saturnian obstacles your chart has noted in the past might be triggered as Saturn “back-tracks” over those same pain points in your chart. Again, look to see the sign and house where this is happening for you.

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Chiron the Centaur

Also on the 17th, the planetoid Chiron, known as the “Wounded Healer” due to its association with the mythical Greek Centaur of the same name, leaves Pisces and moves into Aries: a transit that lasts all the way through the year 2026! I predict that Chiron in Aries will bring exciting developments in the fields of medical devices and related technologies, innovating the ways in which we apply modalities of physical healing. Let’s focus on breakthroughs in whichever areas of our lives, determined by Chiron’s presence in our chart, will be affected! (In my natal chart, I have Chiron in Aries in my second House of Earned Income, so I’m hoping this Chiron Return will bring some needed money mojo!)

Transits and Aspects Rounding Out the Month

On April 18, the Sun in the late degrees of Aries will exactly conjunct Uranus, bringing a real emphasis not so much on catalyzing new things but completing projects already begun.

The next day, the Sun moves into the Fixed Earth Sign of Taurus, and from April 19-23, Venus and the Sun will be doubly blessing us with the Taurean theme of Worldly Pleasures. As I mentioned in my astro post last month, this is the energy behind The Empress card of the Tarot:

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Again, make the most of this! On the 24th, Venus leaves Her Earthy Sign behind and moves into the playful, intellectually curious, and highly social sphere of Gemini, where Her loving vibes have a cooler, more fickle (well, certainly more distracted), nature to them. Her transit in Gemini lasts until May 19.

Pluto turns Retrograde at 21° of Capricorn on April 22, helping us all consider the revisions of the structures in our lives, especially at the transpersonal/political level.

On April 23 and 24, ambitious Mars in Capricorn sextiles His good friend, Jupiter in Scorpio, blessing us with much-needed optimism and a “can-do” attitude. Roll up your sleeves and get to work! Jupiter lends the work done in Mars with an expansive, uplifting outlook.

Some thorns may be protruding from our collective roses on April 25 and 26 with two potentially difficult aspects: Mercury’s square to Saturn at 9° of Capricorn and the conjunction between Mars and Pluto at 21° of Capricorn, respectively. In the former planetary aspect, there may be challenges to business negotiations and signing legally binding documents. Those two days are not the best ones to ask your boss for a raise. In the latter aspect, Mars-conjunct-Pluto is another one of those ones where we have to be vigilant against the eruption of physical violence. Again, this conjunction can be viewed as a chief marker for initiating warfare. Watch the headlines for any international pissing contests, as if our Earth needs any more of those! And yet, it’s not always so dire: Mars-conjunct-Pluto gives us indefatigable energy so we can truly make headway in accomplishing whatever we set our minds to. Just push your way forward ethically, please!

A beautifully stabilizing, sensual, and money-boosting aspect happens on April 29, evoking the wonderful harmony between the Sister Earth energies of Taurus and Capricorn. The Taurus Sun will trine Saturn at 9° of Capricorn, helping us really build our projects from solid foundations that will last. How can you restructure your life for the better? This is an ideal day for business negotiations or even playing the stock market. Real estate transactions are especially favored, as that is Saturn’s favorite way to make money over the long haul.

Make the end of the month count to put your ideas into concrete action! And then treat yourself to a reward afterwards, as both the Sun in Taurus and Grandpa Saturn in Capricorn believe in reaping a good reward for well-done work. That’s how karma works, after all: the energies of what you receive are directly proportional to the energies you put in. So put in good work and then go cash in your karma coupons with gusto!

Fabulous Finale of a Full Moon in Scorpio

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The month ends on a powerful, wholly supportive note on April 29 of a Full Moon at 9° of Scorpio, occurring at 7:58 p.m. CDT. I vote that this night be chosen for any Beltane celebrations as well as any sex magick workings you may choose to perform: the energies are just so wonderful, so JUICY! You’ve got the Earthy Trine between Taurus and Capricorn mentioned above, plus the Scorpio Moon will sextile Jupiter in Scorpio. What else could you possibly ask for? Prosperity Magick, Personal Evolution, Fertility Rites, Tantra: It’s a Cosmic Green Light for All of the Above!

So get out there, my friends, and make magic through LOVE! Blessed Be!

 

 

Venus Retrograde 2017: Inanna in the Underworld

Every 18 months or so, the planet Venus appears to move backwards from our Earthly perspective for a period of roughly 40 days. This transit, known as a Venus Retrograde, has a deep impact upon us because it’s one of our solar system’s three personal planets (along with Mercury and Mars), so the effects are more greatly felt in our day-to-day emotions and experiences, unlike the effects of the slower-moving outer planets’ Retrograde periods (e.g., Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto). Astronomically and esoterically, Venus will transform during this period from being the Evening Star that’s been seen on the Western Horizon at sunset to the Morning Star in the East. In order to do that, She (I speak of the planet and the goddess with equal reverence, so I capitalize the pronoun) will undergo Her period of retreat, taking us all into a symbolic Underworld journey to reevaluate our relationships and finances; what we value, including our own sense of self-worth; and what we find beautiful/aesthetically pleasing. Continue reading

My Annual Year-Wheel Tarot Divination

So we’re immersed in a bit of a cosmic paradox, eh? Here we are, just out of the starting gate of a brand new year, eager to implement all the grand plans we’ve resolved to weave into the tapestries of our life stories in 2016…and along comes a series of astrological events that are the equivalent of STOP signs: a Mercury Retrograde (first in Aquarius for all of two days, then backtracking into Capricorn–in fact, all four Mercury Retrograde periods this year will occur in Earth Signs), starting today; also starting today, the Capricorn Sun conjuncts powerful Pluto, and this aspect seeks to destroy and rebuild foundational structures in our lives, individually and at the collective level (a legacy of the messiness that we’ve inherited in the past four years of the potent and painful Uranus-Pluto square, which I’ve written about here); and this coming Thursday, the 7th of January, will have benevolent and bulbous Jupiter, our Daddy Warbucks of the Zodiac, going Retrograde until the 9th of May (but not leaving the Retrograde shadow period until early August), making us feel as though our personal development is being curtailed, ill luck is prevalent, and cosmic resources are that much more difficult to access. (The opposite, of course, holds true if you were born during a Jupiter Retrograde: this is one of your luckiest times of the year!)

Dizzy yet?

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My Annual Year-Wheel Tarot Spread

Last night marked the end, in the Serbian calendar, of the “Unclean Days”–a period of time characterized by folk observances that reveal a commingled Pagan and Eastern Orthodox Christian sensibility. One of the major themes emphasized during this liminal 12-day period between the waning influence of the old year and the embryonic energies yet to crystallize in the new is the auspiciousness of performing divination.

Now, while my mother tells me that I had a great uncle in Serbia who performed divination by gazing into an old brazen bowl into which he read the shapes of a beeswax candle’s droplets in spring water, and my mother’s own mother told fortunes with a regular deck of playing cards as well as scrying in Turkish coffee grounds, I like to stick with the Tarot. But not just any Tarot deck–though, admittedly, like many Pagans, I have several at my disposal–my preferred one is the very first one to come across my petite priestess hands: a Marseilles Tarot deck given to me by my awesome Uncle Milan, my mother’s brother. During his 50 years of life (cut short by lymphoma) on this planet, he was an astute esotericist, Jungian psychologist, gifted viola player, and good-humored, pipe tobacco-smoking outdoors enthusiast. The Marseilles deck was his, given to me before my fifteenth birthday with a very knowing wink from his deep-set, coal-black eyes. Continue reading