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Astrology Highlights for April 17-23, 2023: Emigrants


In history’s darkest moments, when a people were faced with leaving their homes or facing deadly circumstances, some escaped to safety and others didn’t. Some tried but just didn’t succeed; others waited just a beat too long to attempt their escape. And I’ve often wondered: how would you know when the time was now, when your happiness, livelihood, or even your life depended on leaving everything familiar to seek a better life somewhere else?

This week’s Solar Eclipse at 29º50’ Aries (April 19, 2023, 9:12 pm PDT) tells a story of emigration. At the last, critical degree of Aries, this eclipse demands that we leave something – leap, figuratively, into a jalopy crossing a deadly but exhilarating desert; into a dinghy navigating treacherous rapids; aboard an aircraft headed for another planet, better equipped to support life. Filled with the powerful optimism of the Sun and Moon’s current ally, Jupiter, the eclipse point is also in a tight square to Pluto, which just entered Aquarius after months at Capricorn’s final, dour degrees. Pluto’s momentary shift (it will return to Capricorn’s last degrees twice again before settling in Aquarius for good), combined with this Sun-Jupiter alliance in courageous Aries, is a signal that the time to move on is now.

Emigrants leave what’s familiar because they have to. We might never have been faced with something as dramatic as literally leaving our home, all that we’ve built, and loved ones. But most of us know what it’s like to leave a job that’s crippling you physically and emotionally, because you can’t spend another day there. Or to leave a relationship that’s killing you so that you can stop hurting.

Eclipses show us exactly where in our lives we’ve reached the indisputable crossroads of change. This eclipse in particular is emphatic that change must come – however scary it might be. Eclipses that fell at the same degree on April 19, 2004, and April 17, 1996 might offer additional insights on how your chart will respond to this one.

This is the first eclipse in Aries since September 28, 2015, and the first Solar Eclipse in Aries since March 29, 2006. How different the world looks today, and how much drama we’ve witnessed – the great recession, terrible political division, a global pandemic. And Pluto was in Capricorn for all of it. Pluto’s shift to Aquarius signals a big shift, personally and collectively, in the direction of hopefulness – or at least, of a future.

On a personal level, that might mean making decisions that not everyone in our lives will like. It will certainly call on our Aries courage, something flinty and unapologetic in our character that we hadn’t known was there – and our refusal to let fear deny us a new beginning and a brighter frontier.


The Sun enters Taurus (April 20, 2023, 1:14 am PDT) on the Sabian symbol 1 Taurus, A clear mountain stream. Taurus season represents a fresh, cleansing transition from the hectic pace of Aries month; it’s almost like a baptism.

When I was small, we used to travel over the river on Sundays to a park in southern Illinois, where we’d have a picnic in the same bucolic setting. Nearly every time, there were baptisms taking place in the small stream running through the park. I remember wanting to wade in the stream on one of these days, and asking my Taurus mother, “If I do, will I get baptized?” “No, you have to ask for that,” was her sensible reply.

When we walk into Taurus’ stream, will we get cleaned up or baptized? It’s a pretty down-to-earth sign, but this year’s Taurus season brings the Sun immediately into a square aspect with Pluto (April 20, 2023, 9:27 am PDT), planet of deep-cleaning, and eventually with Saturn and Neptune in Pisces, a sign that seeks spiritual meaning. So I suppose the answer is… both? We can do our spring house cleaning, but there’s the chance for a little spiritual sprucing up as well. All we have to do is ask for it.


Mercury turns retrograde this week (April 21, 2023, 1:35 am PDT). At the beginning of each calendar year, I try to plot my major projects and obligations for the next twelve months. But I always forget to include Mercury’s retrograde periods.

It’s not that we need to shut down and stop doing everything while Mercury appears to be backward in his orbit. But overscheduling and moving at a hectic pace is not even close to being the best use of Mercury’s retrograde times. Ideally, we’d schedule retreats during those three weeks, three or four times each year, the better to do retrograde Mercury’s best work: reflection, retooling, recalibration.

Maybe Mercury retrograde is best imagined as naptime. It’s when our brains thumb through all the bits of information we’ve been cramming into them for the past few months, categorize what’s useful, and delete what isn’t. Ideally, we would slow down during these times and let our brains do their work. It does take some planning ahead, though, so put the next Mercury retrograde period (Aug. 23-Sept. 15, 2023) on your calendar now, and make sure you schedule your retreat – or least a lighter schedule – for then.

Fully Baked

When Mercury in deliberate Taurus made its first in a series of three sextile aspects to Mars (on April 7), an aspect that presents opportunities to put words and ideas into action, I suggested yielding to Taurus’ leisurely pace by grabbing a couple of the better possibilities and throwing them into Mars in Cancer’s oven until they were fully baked.

At the second sextile in the series (April 23, 2023, 8:19 pm PDT), they’re ready to come out of the oven. And now that we have a better idea of what they could be, it’s time to decide which of them deserves our complete attention and energy. Mars is on the Sabian symbol 16 Cancer: A man before a square with a manuscript roll before him. An array of tempting options is laid out before us. Between now and that last sextile on June 21, we choose the best few and prepare to make something of them.

Writing and images © 2017-23 by April Elliott Kent

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