May’s Triple Retrograde Tempers Expectations, While a Nodal Shift Inspires Adaptation

April 28, 2020

March and April’s cosmic weather beckoned in massive changes. Over the last few months, we have seen the world turned inside out in the wake of January’s epoch shifting conjunction between taskmaster Saturn and transformative Pluto. 

While Spring has sprung, and we are somewhat adjusting to the new normal, if there is anything to be learned from May’s forecast, it is to temper our expectations for a global recovery with patience, and realism. 

The good news: May is devoid of the disruptive and crisis-inducing hard aspects between Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto that blew up March and April. Whew! The not so good news: While new developments are in the works, collectively and personally, our sense of overall progress is likely to be stalled. With border closures, distancing measures extended, and so many unknowns about the novel-corona crisis at hand, it’s a time to find a holding pattern, and adapt to the necessary restrictions that are upon us for now.

Feeling wayward? See in what directions your chart points! 

Any rush toward a resolution is risky, as May’s triple planetary retrograde is cosmically working against hasty efforts. It is a warning that these are unlikely to take hold… just yet. With Mercury in stable Taurus for most of the month, and the moon’s nodal axis shifting into Gemini/Sagittarius for the rest of the year, any victories we achieve this month are to be found in the realm of introspection, communication, and adaptation. 

May 3-4: Venus is square Neptune, and Mercury is conjunct the sun
The month of May opens with Venus, the planet of love and connection, in an edgy square aspect with illusory Neptune in empathic Pisces. Venus has been in lively and frenetic Gemini since April 3, and her motto could be “love finds a way” as we have all been seeking connection in inventive ways across this social distancing divide. 

Venus in the sign of the Twins adds an adaptive and fluid spirit to the themes of relationship, and many of us are expressing what is in our hearts in surprising and inventive ways. Gemini is the sign of external processing, needing a sounding board, thriving off of the sonar echoes bouncing back as relational feedback and affirmation. With Venus here, this is what many of us need, and have been exploring, speaking out from our restrictions to find out who’s actually out there to receive us. 

Today’s Venus/Neptune square is the peak of this activity, an amplification of our idealism, the distortion of our projections. Like a crescendo of frequencies crashing as static waves, the clarity of meaning crumbles and melts into a disorienting din. It’s a great concept for sound art, but today, we are finding out what can happen when we become untethered from our bodies, our sensuality, and get lost in the ethers of virtuality.

Luckily, the remedy comes the following day as Mercury in earthy and abundant Taurus enters the purifying crucible in the heart of the sun, the Cazimi. This is the grounding of the charge, bringing us back down to earth, and back to our hearts. We may find ourselves shifting into our centers, learning to filter, and recalibrate after a time of excitement and overextension. The online world is alive with chat rooms and avatars, but today, we have an opportunity to reassess who we are, what we want to say, and where we actually want to be.

May 5: A shift in the lunar nodes
In early November of 2018, the axis of the moon’s nodes shifted from Leo/Aquarius to Cancer/Capricorn. This shift set the stage for the eclipse seasons to come, moving these transformative and purgative lunar phases into engagement with the four cardinal signs of the zodiac. 

Those with prominent birth placements in Cancer and Capricorn, especially, may have felt as though they have been under the most existential stress in that last two years. Folks with prominent cardinal placements will be relieved to know that this pressure is off of you for now, and onto our mutable sign friends. For all of us, it’s a respite for some topics, however, it only means that it’s time for reworking others. 

Being the home of Mercury, Gemini is the sign of speech and communication, while Sagittarius is the sign of the quest for authenticity, the home of Jupiter—and so we may find these polar yet interrelated themes becoming more active this year. 

While there are two more eclipses to play out in Cancer/Capricorn, there are three that will occur between Gemini and Sagittarius in 2020, teaching us how to begin to let go of what is standing in the way of coherence, and holism. What we say and the philosophy we carry within is about to undergo a huge renovation, in the dawning of an era that has us all searching for new meaning and true purpose.

May 7: Mercury is sextile Neptune, and a full moon in Scorpio
Speedy Mercury in the dependable sign of the Bull comes into a supportive sextile aspect with Neptune in soulful Pisces today, encouraging introspection and considerate communication. It’s an aspect that brings the transcendental down into the tangible, relatable realm, as we find the spirit of idealism working harmoniously with our sensual, earthly sensibilities. 

The stage is set for the mood of the very early morning full moon in potent Scorpio to become exact, a bold moon that illuminated most of the previous night. Symbolically, this Mars-ruled lunation is a culmination of a seed that was planted six months ago, that gestated and now is ripe for the harvest. Check to see what house Scorpio rules in your birth chart to understand the area of life this moon illuminates now. 

For those with prominent fixed planets or fixed angles in your birth chart, this moon may impact you most subjectively. For all of us, there is a strong psychic current in the collective, opening up a passage in our souls that is lit with this uncanny lunar light. This potent full moon in Scorpio illuminates the darkness and brings what was hidden into the light.

May 9-10: Mercury is trine Pluto and Jupiter, the sun is sextile Neptune, and Saturn goes retrograde
Mercury in steady Taurus comes into an earth trine aspect with Pluto and Jupiter on May 9 and 10, bringing the steady and grounded communications of the weekend into phase with Pluto’s slow transformative processes, and Jupiter’s cautious growth in Capricorn. This may symbolize a time of coming more into harmony and acceptance with the societal and economic challenges that are upon us now, and have us geared toward gradual solutions.

There is a lot of conversation and strategy in the works, personally and collectively, so these earth trines may hint that some new foundation is being built. It may take a while before we see the new structure rising from the foundation, so the emphasis now is on establishing well-laid plans.

The sun in abundant Taurus comes into a sextile aspect with Neptune in compassionate Pisces, blending energy, perception, and initiative with idealism and a sense of the larger, universal connectivity. There is an opportunity this week to have our best efforts infused by a new dream for the future, and as long as we understand we are reaching for what is possible and are not avoiding reality. There is much to hope for when we work together now.

This work, however, is about to slow down even further, as Saturn in socially progressive Aquarius stations retrograde. Saturn’s time in its fixed air home since March 21 introduced us to the themes of the next era we are evolving into. As it continues to backtrack on its course, we may be taken back into what seemed like progress in our societal efforts, to revisit laws and agreements. It is likely we will be reforming and redrafting these, to adapt to new developments, personally and collectively. 

Saturn will return to Capricorn on July 1 to take us back into the material and financial restructuring that was shocked into motion on January 12. We will continue to work through the structural and financial implications of this planetary U-turn until December 17, when a new era will truly begin for our society. All signs point to the efforts of economic recovery being extended until the end of the year, and beyond.

May 11: Mercury is square Mars and enters Gemini
On Monday, May 11, matters of communication may come to a bit of an impasse as Mercury in steady Taurus comes into a triggering square aspect with Mars in fixed air Aquarius. Mercury represents the flow of information, ideas, and currency, while Mars represents confrontation and initiative in society; and the two working at cross purposes points to an area of readjustment— most likely in light of yesterday’s Saturn retrograde. This may cause some frustration, personally and societally, and with both Mercury and Mars in fixed, immovable signs, it represents two energies that will not easily yield or adapt. 

It’s a feeling that something has got to give, and this may take form in Mercury’s shift from methodical Taurus, into its swift sign of dignity, Gemini, a few hours later. It seems that the slow and steady flow of thought and currency needs to shift now into a more abstract and adaptive from. Mercury is highly functional and powerful in Gemini, joining relational Venus who is also in the sign of the Twins, so it may be that necessary connections start to spark and happen quickly, advancing with sudden speed and breakthroughs.

May 12: Mercury is trine Saturn Rx, Mars enters Pisces, and Venus goes retrograde
May 12 holds a cosmic shift, where personal and collective affairs begin to feel as though they are taking a new direction. Mercury in swift and adaptive Gemini comes into an air trine with Saturn retrograde in Aquarius, which could indicate a speedy harmonizing of communications with the themes of social and legal rebuilding. This may symbolize some initiative that may have been in the works suddenly connecting and moving forward. Saturn is in retrograde, starting to take us back into the themes of past months, to reexamine and reframe legal and financial agreements in a new light.

By nightfall, Mars leaves contrarian Aquarius to enter receptive Pisces. Mars has been enabled in the past several months while in very potent, action-oriented signs, and this sign shift may represent a cool down and internalization of drive and confrontation. It may carry these energies into healing and compassionate expressions, but it may also dull Mars’ edge. The warrior planet will join Neptune in the dreamy sign of the two-fishes, which can blur strategies and make results more nebulous and irregular. It could symbolize a time of our battles being fought to protect the health and wellbeing of others, but also a time where there is some confusion in where to direct any potent martial efforts.

Just before midnight, Venus, the planet of love, attraction, and cohesion, stations retrograde in the sign of the curious Twins. As a result, this prolongs Venus’ passage through Gemini until early August, keeping us in a bit of a holding pattern with any relational topics that have emerged lately. 

Venus is lively and seeks diverse connections while in Gemini, but the retrograde motion will have us revisiting and continuing to readapt our ways of communicating as we have been since April 3. Love matters from the past may reemerge, or we may be going back to pick up loose threads from a romance that started to take form recently. There may also be some clarification that is needed as we revisit agreements and commitments with lovers now.

May 14-15: Jupiter goes retrograde, the sun is trine Pluto, and Mercury is sextile Chiron
The last domino falls today in a chain of major retrogrades as Jupiter also joins the ranks of planets on reverse course. As always, retrogrades symbolize a re-do or revisit of some kind, a backtracking over previous ground. These can feel like disorienting déjà vus, which can be discouraging or frustrating if we had high expectations. Retrogrades can also be opportunities to pause and go within to reexamine what we have committed to. Losing momentum can help us see if we were on the right course in the first place. 

Jupiter’s retrograde is significant, as Jupiter, the planet of benevolence, growth, and opportunities, has been a major player in the challenging cosmic weather this year. Jupiter’s abundance is tempered and slower, reserved, and cautious in serious Capricorn, which has had huge financial implications for us personally, and collectively. 

his is a time of financial backtracking, conservation, and contraction, where we are taking stock of what we have, and realizing it may need to be made to last longer than we expected. This is a time when we are beginning to see the full scope of our economic slowdown, which will last at least until September 12 when Jupiter goes direct again. We need to take on the sober, cautious optimism of Jupiter for now, and be as responsible as we can be.

Before midnight, the sun in earthy, solid Taurus comes into an earth trine with Pluto in Capricorn, bringing the energies and awareness of the month into phase with the deep transformational workings of our times. The following day, Mercury in speedy Gemini forms a cooperative sextile with Chiron in Aries. The focus of collective awareness on Pluto’s intensive themes has the potential to heal and resolve deeper wounds around personal authority and responsibility.

May 17: The sun is trine Jupiter retrograde
Perhaps in light of the material realities of the year setting in, Sunday’s earth trine between the sun in dependable Taurus and Jupiter, now retrograde, in pragmatic Capricorn, are a good sign that collective awareness is coming into harmony with realistic expectations. 

This is an opportunity to apply energy and action into boosting our reserves and stocking our shelves. Not from a place of fear, but from a place of sensibility and realism, we can plan and ground ourselves with what we need, and nurture what we value. This is a potentially fortunate opportunity to ease our anxieties by seeing what we do have, and tap into small potentials that could grow in the future. 

May 20: The sun enters Gemini, and Venus retrograde is square Neptune
On Wednesday, Mercury’s day, the sun enters Mercury’s mutable air sign, Gemini. This is the commencement of the final phase of spring, and the beginning of Gemini season, which is typically characterized by an energetic surge in social activity. This is the time of cooler, moist Spring days beginning to give way to the warmer days of summer, and a yearning to be active and mobile takes over for the collective. Since we are still cautiously observing our health and social distancing measures, this feels like a bit of a tentative time, where we still need to temper the usual Gemini season surge with practicality and caution. 

There may be a temptation to slip into escapism and denial as Venus, now retrograde in Gemini, forms an edgy square with idealistic Neptune in Pisces later in the afternoon. It’s important to not fall for the false sense of security now that may emerge from our small but important victories over the crisis at hand. Love and attraction are potent, and risk can feel thrilling. Our frustrations intensify as we want to return to normal, but the mutable mode of all of the signs involved reminds us to be patient, yet creative and adaptive now.

May 22: Mercury is conjunct Venus retrograde, the sun is trine Saturn retrograde, Mercury is square Neptune, and a new moon in Gemini
Mercury powerfully placed in active Gemini forms a conjunction with Venus in retrograde. This is a very active day of planetary aspects, symbolizing a momentous connection that occurs in love, attraction, and even in community in general. This is a high vibe, creative opportunity, emerging on Venus’ day of the week. Are we reunited with a past love, or revisiting a conversation with our partner? Or perhaps there is a literary or creative project that has been reactivated now? We will have the whole weekend to uncover what this conjunction has in store.

On the same day, the sun in Gemini forms a potent air trine with Saturn retrograde in Aquarius. This adds an undercurrent of support and possibility for commitment to the conversations of the weekend, and a time for a larger, societal matter to be revisited and reworked. This matter may have implications for the bigger picture, with new technological solutions emerging, that are adaptive and innovative. Perhaps it is a new law or initiative that is passed in light of some deficiencies that have been discovered? The temptation will be to move forward swiftly with all that is discussed this weekend, but again, there is an illusory interference emerging when Mercury forms a square with Neptune in watery Pisces. This may cloud our clarity in the excitement of the moment, so it’s important to hold everything in balance. 

The Gemini archetypal themes are further emphasized today as we have this month’s new moon forming in the curious sign of the Twins. The new moon is the end of the last lunar cycle, and represents the still point in between, before the beginning of the next. It’s not a time for intention setting, or ritual per se, as the darkening of the moon represents vulnerability, low lunar energies, and a time of purification and surrender. 

Gemini is connected to a certain house in our birth chart, so the new moon falling here marks a spot in the psychic soil where a new beginning will unfold over the next six months. Since it’s in the mutable air sign Gemini, it can be pointing to an area of our life that we are learning to invite multifaceted energies into, to help us learn to be more adaptive in the future. Those with prominent mutable placements or points in their charts may feel this renewal most subjectively, in the areas of self, home, relationship, and career in the upcoming days. 

May 24: Mars is sextile Uranus
Mars’ confronting and catalyzing energies have been a major factor in setting into motion some of the more dire and disruptive events in the last two months, so today’s sextile with radical Uranus is sure to be more constructive. Though the sextile aspect is supportive and collaborative, it’s still enabling and activating two of the more volatile planetary energies in our skies. This may coincide with sudden new developments that could help manage the current challenges to our health and economic security. 

Mars is bringing drive and initiative to enacting compassion, and spiritual care, while Uranus is propelling innovative ways to produce and manage our material resources. Uranus in Taurus is highlighting a six-year transit that is also illuminating our awareness of the natural world, and pushing us to have a more sustainable relationship with our planet. 

Certainly, in the time of human pause and immobilization, the earth and its precious ecosystems have had a chance to begin to heal. Perhaps this phenomenon can teach us how quickly the planet can come back into balance when our human ambitions and consumptions are limited. Today’s sextile provides an opportunity to reflect on these themes and enact the environmental initiatives that many of us value.

May 28: Mercury is conjunct the lunar north node, and enters Cancer
Just after midnight, Mercury in kinetic Gemini comes into a conjunction with the lunar north node. This is significant because it activates the new nodal axis, which will be the location of three upcoming eclipses this year. The north node of the moon—also known as the ascending node—is a point of amplification and expansion, intensifying any planetary body that crosses over it. It highlights the need for adaptive thought to be ready for whatever comes this year. 

Our struggles across the passage of 2020, into a new era of social and technological innovation, is not quite over yet. This conjunction asks us to hold onto a creative, curious, and multifaceted outlook as we venture deeper into the year. We may be asked now to make a pivotal decision that will reframe our perceptions moving forward. Tune into any new awareness or shifts in focus early today.

Shortly after, Mercury shifts signs again, morphing into a more emotive and nurturing role in Cancer. Communications and exchanges move from information to nurturance, healing, and protection. This shift in conversation will last in Cancer until August 4, prolonged this year by Mercury’s retrograde. 

It’s an especially long time for our mental and strategic energies to be focused on the watery, empathic matters of care and restoration, so whatever starts to bubble up to the surface today is significant. It will be a more sensitive, and potentially reactive and defensive time, as people are likely to be very emotionally exhausted from all that we have been through. It will be important to tread lightly, and speak kindly, over the next few months.

May 29: The sun is sextile Chiron
The last major planetary aspect for May occurs between the sun in sociable Gemini and Chiron, the asteroid of soul healing in primal Aries. Today is an opportunity for collective awareness and perceptions to come in tune with the larger themes of universal healing. It’s a reminder that the shocks and traumas of 2020 will need long-term care and support to manage, and that the compassion and consideration these open us up to will help us find new consideration for each other. 

The sun in engaging Gemini reminds us that we are all interconnected, and are not alone on our journeys and trials in life. The innovative ways that we have maintained our social connections over the past months may have bonded us for life and the road ahead.