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Highlights for May 24-30, 2021: Trimming Palms

Trimming Palms

Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone.

A dollop of hope

The world seems to have turned into a game of tug-of-war. My opinion, my truth, my beliefs, vs. yours. Shouting matches instead of civilized discussion. Everyone is always right and no one is ever wrong (which seems mathematically improbable, right?). This has been our collective background music for a long time, and it’s reached a crescendo since the Lunar Nodes entered Gemini and Sagittarius last May.

This week’s Full Moon is a Lunar Eclipse (May 26, 2021, 6:14 am PDT) at 5.25 Sagittarius. And it offers a dollop of hope: the eclipse point is square Jupiter, newly in Pisces. Jupiter is a judge, but in Pisces, he’s a kindly one. So I like to think this eclipse holds some hope of softening our points of view just a bit.

Lunar eclipses have particular relevance to our personal relationships, bringing new partners into our orb and redefining existing ones. With Jupiter prominent in this eclipse chart, we should take care not to make mountains out of molehills. Treat one another gently, with tolerance and understanding – even though other aspects this week may bring difficult matters to light. (Read more about the Lunar Eclipse in this essay from my archives.)

How to lie

Esteemed astrologer Steven Forrest once said that, “we get married, and then set to work teaching each other how to lie.” That’s keenly observed, and it has the sting of truth. But it’s difficult to deal with unvarnished candor on a 24-hour basis, and in a long-term relationship untruths are sometimes kind. A little gentleness lets affection endure.

But there are kind untruths (“No, that dress doesn’t make you look fat”) and then there is flat-out deception. And as Venus squares Neptune (May 27, 2021, 12:25 pm PDT), doors get left open and you can get a good look at what is really going on – in relationships, with money, and in the way you value yourself, or don’t.

Trimming palms

Just as Mercury comes together with Venus this week (May 28, 2021, 10:13 pm PDT), it’s slowing down, standing still, and and preparing to turn retrograde the next day (May 29, 2021, 3:34 pm PDT) – all on the Sabian symbol, A man trimming palms.

Now, my husband and I have a disagreement about trimming things. He resists pruning and weeding; he mourns for all living things that are cut or discarded, while I see it as necessary for their health and flourishing.

Whichever side you may fall on in this matter, Mercury and Venus joined together at this point suggests that we be a little bit restrained in making decisions and announcements, especially about partnerships. As Mercury turns retrograde, we may wish we could take back some promises or declarations. And that’s a bit like trimming a tree: you can always remove more, but you can’t quickly replace what’s been cut off.


Mercury turns retrograde this week (May 29, 2021, 3:34 pm 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 input 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 (Sep. 27-Oct. 18, 2021) on your calendar now, and make sure you plan a little downtime then.

Cease fire

Mars is a fighter. But Mars in Cancer, and especially trine Neptune (May 30, 2021, 10:16 pm PDT), would prefer to avoid bloodshed. This trine forms on the day before we observe Memorial Day here in the U.S., so here’s a story that seems appropriate.

On Christmas Eve 1914, in the throes of World War I, German and British troops spontaneously began singing Christmas carols to each other across enemy lines. At dawn on Christmas morning, German soldiers came up from the trenches and called out “Merry Christmas!” in English. The British soldiers initially thought it was a trap; but when they saw the Germans were unarmed, they too emerged. The enemies shook hands, exchanged gifts of cigarettes and sweets, and sang carols together. Some Germans lit Christmas trees around the trenches, and there were even reports of an impromptu soccer match.

Imagine you’re far from home (Mars in Cancer) at Christmas, cold and damp and miserable, afraid for your life – when an unexpected wave of warmth, kindness, and humanity washes over you. Keep your eyes and ears open as Mars trines Neptune this week; someone you’ve been protecting yourself from might actually welcome a chance to clink glasses and share a song with you.

Writing and images © 2020-2021 by April Elliott Kent

Listen to this week’s podcast episode for more discussion of the week’s highlights!

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5 comments to " Highlights for May 24-30, 2021: Trimming Palms "

  • Oh, I didn’t have Mercury retrograde marked on my calendar. No wonder I am having trouble arranging for a airport shuttle. Not the best time for all this to occur what with school graduations occurring. I don’t know about others yet I am experiencing a heck of a time in getting anything accomplished. A lot of effort, long waits on the phone, and wrong phone numbers posted on company websites. Now that I have ranted, I will take that break and start again fresh tomorrow morn. Thanks, as always, for the weekly guidance, April. Glad to have a heads-up on the late September date for another Mercury retrograde period.

    • maggie rose

      Ha-ha, me too Tanene! I just had a kitchen faucet replaced by my landlord, and it’s more noisy than the old, broken one. So I ordered my own new one, for delivery on May 28th, the day before Mercury goes retrograde (though there is overlap before and after). Been trying to schedule a plumber since yesterday and it’s back and forth online and on the phone. I also discovered I could have ordered a less expensive faucet in a plainer finish, same model. I try not rush when spending money, and do a lot of research. But I’m aware the stress of the noisy faucet, people coming in and out of my home are not making it easy.

      So I’m looking forward to some unexpected warmth and kindness when Mars trines Neptune on May 30th!

  • Courtney

    Ha, you just described “democracy”.

    On another note – I just took a 5-Element Qigong course. Each element has it’s season, and this is considered Spring. The element is Wood. What happens w/ trees (and bulbs!) after winter? The energy they pulled inward at fall and rested with over winter BURSTS FORTH. (the elemental energy is “the power to do”) I’ve watched budding leaves on trees more than double in size overnight. Bulbs deep in the ground push up and up and finally explode into a beautiful bloom on top!

    The warning was – what have humans been cultivating over the fall and winter, and how will they “burst forth” as covid restrictions relax? Uranus is still in Taurus…!

    • Courtney

      ps – signed: Mars in Cancer – AND “out of bounds”.
      One of Forrest’s students wrote a brilliant essay on it over on his site. I went into a tailspin when I learned that ‘out of bounds’ thing. It made me feel a little bit less wretched. :-/ May I embrace it as Toni Morrison has. (her quote – omg! Sister from another mother!! <3 TOTALLY something that would come out of my mouth!)

  • Diane

    Oh, I guess I already had my Mars-Neptune moment, when I ran into my (terrible) old boss at an event, and she insisted I sit next to her and chat. But we had a lovely conversation, proving she’s an OK person who’s a terrible boss, I guess. Since I have Mars in Cancer natally, perhaps I’ll get another opportunity like this.

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