A Cross-Quarter Day
Looking back to the Solstice chart in March, I mentioned Ostara may need her coat as this spring was set to be a chilly one. Certainly here in the UK, we are waiting for spring in her full glory to appear. Glimpses occasionally of blue skies tempt us outside but the Sun does not warm cold bones all the way through. Maybe we just need to wait for the ingress of Mars into the Suns sign of Leo on 20th May to really get the season going.
Pagan festival Beltane, while commonly celebrated on 1st May, is not actually aligned with the astrological point. As with all the cross-quarter markers it is the mid-point of the spring season as the Sun reaches 15° Taurus. This year it’s landing on 5th May.
The Bull has a tireless lust for life. I often consider that both of Venus’ signs herald a dazzling display of my favourite of all her gifts; the trees. In spring she blesses us with the multifarious blossom, an array of colour and splendour, brief but awe inspiring. In autumn, the change of leaves from vibrant green to oranges, reds and browns, a last hoorah of colour before they fall back to the earth to be consumed by the beetles and worms, fertilising the soil in the process.
The tradition of the Japanese cherry blossom festival called Sakura, has every marker of Venus in her Earth sign. It is an ancient honoured tradition, noted in strict accordance to the time the first bloom is declared open. This year that blossom was marked very early on 14th March in Tokyo and now the blooms are opening as the season works its way up to the Northern islands where, by the time of the unofficial Beltane celebrations on 1st May it will be concluding in Sapporo. This most Venusian of festivals gathers family and friends to celebrate with Hanami flower viewing parties, where groups of people eat, drink and honour the visual splendour surrounding them. Lovers meander along tree lined paths as blossom gently fall, foretelling a possible future scene of confetti at a wedding; a more romantic scene for young love to flourish could not be found.
This year’s Beltane chart is very special, as not only is the Sun at the 15° point, but this is also the exact Full Moon and an Eclipse to boot! The Sun in the sign of Taurus is in the 12th part of Scorpio, while the Moon is exactly opposite in the sign of her fall in Scorpio but within her exalted 2°30’ Taurus. If you are not working with the 12th parts known as the Dodecatemoria, this nuance could be missed but it is important in this chart as here lay all the secrets.
In the UK, Scorpio rises yet again, as in our previous chart at the Solstice. However, now this chart is hosted by a Mars unhappily simmering away in Cancer, this creates a mutually receptive trine to the Moon in the 1st house, but neither is truly comfortable in each other’s domicile. Yet, Mars is in the 12th part of Leo, and the next ingress for Mars on the 20st May is into the Lion’s den.
While on the other side of the chart, all the planetary activity in Taurus is bringing the attention of the Other reflected onto the self, this is a Full Moon dilemma every month but this one is a lunar Eclipse so those middle degrees bring a dimension of Alice in the looking glass.
This chart on the face looks to be full of darkness and danger, but actually has the yin yang duality built right into it, a spark of light in the dark and dark in the light. Without doubt, this season will bring troubles for some, but consider the story of Pandora. As a symbol of the divine feminine (and as always in the ancient myths, an unfairly treated woman), when opening the box she unleashes the world’s sorrows, but she also gave us our most valuable of human emotions, hope.
Royalist or not, there is no escaping the fact that the UK will be witnessing a symbolic marriage the following day on 6th May, one of a sovereign to his people. The coronation of King Charles III, who natally is a Scorpio Sun and Taurus Moon at 0°, born three days before an eclipse on this axis, the North Node at 3°, means this is also his nodal return. It is so striking it has to be mentioned though others have discussed it at length, I am sure, so we won’t dwell here.
Looking forward through the season, it becomes busy as we work toward the height of the light half of the year and the Summer Solstice. There really are things to look forward to. Mercury begins by stationing direct on 15th May, yes he will be revisiting the degrees of the eclipse but this time he has the benefit of Jupiter entering Taurus on the 16th. Jupiter heralds a more upbeat feel, a dose of positivity in this area of your chart, which I am sure will be gratefully received. The New Moon on the 19th May at 28° Taurus is a time of reflection on lessons learned though the eclipse season. I should think many of us will have had some old thought patterns and emotions that need to be left behind as we move out of the shadows and into the light once again. Jupiter should bring a more expansive feeling even to this New Moon.
Mars on the 20th is very happy to move into fiery Leo and the Sun on the 21st ingresses in to airy Gemini. The planets mingle their energy by sextile to create a warmer, more sociable promise of things to come. Honourable Mars, the knight in shining armour, prepares to present himself to a young at heart Sun King. This opens the channels for dialogue, which is something that has been missing for some time and helps to identify the route forward, enough time has been spent reminiscing, and things need to get done now. Talk, however, is cheap but with Jupiter grounded in Taurus rather than impetuous Aries, he can knuckle down with a good solid work ethic.
For consideration, the Beltane Full Moon is a reminder of where we will be in six months, as the wheel turns back toward the darkest point of the year. I couldn’t help but contemplate that yin yang symbol but also how the beauty of the spring blossom is transient in its glory. Very soon, all the petals will fall and the fruit behind the bloom will grow and expand into the container for the seed, gently protecting the key to new life within its flesh. As summer continues into the autumn, that fruit will feed the birds, animals or us humans as we reap the rewards of the harvest. But, some will fall to the earth, preparing to wait out the winter, ready to start the cycle all over again.
This for me is the beauty of the opposition of Venus in her spring domicile, against her fall in Scorpio. As the spring Goddess, fecund, beautiful, and ready to take the Horned God to be her betrothed, Venus clothes herself in her floral finery. As the Crone in Scorpio, she morns the loss of her beloved as she settles into the earth protecting the precious seed within her, awaiting His rebirth at the Winter Solstice. On both sides of this axis, Venus grants us her beauty, in spring the blossom, in autumn, the leaves. As the chlorophyll fades it releases the leaf colour beneath, and for that short time, death is given the chance to show how truly magical the transformation from one form to another can be.
Beltane may have this spring/autumn duality baked into it but before we move into autumn we have the joy of the Solstice and Lughnasah to brighten our days and warm our hearts. Use this time wisely, and make hay while the sun shines.