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TRANSCRIPT Ep. 169 | The Sun and Mars in Neptuneland, and Venus Weathers a Crisis!

TRANSCRIPT Ep. 169 | The Sun and Mars in Neptuneland, and Venus Weathers a Crisis!

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April: Hello invisible friend, April here, and the date today is March 13th, 2023. Welcome to Episode 169 of The Big Sky Astrology Podcast.

This week, the Sun and Mars make aspects to Neptune, and the Sagittarius Last Quarter Moon is a chance to pull out of our Pisces dreaminess. Venus confronts Pluto and enters Taurus. And, in this week’s Mini Lesson, I give an introduction to next week’s epic Ingress of Pluto into Aquarius.

Mars square Neptune (March 14, 2023, 4:39 pm PDT)

The week begins with Mars making a square aspect to Neptune on March 14th at 4:39 pm PDT. This is the last in a series of three squares that Mars in Gemini has made to Neptune in Pisces. The other two were on October 11th, 2022, which I went into some detail about in Episode 148, and, on November 19th, 2022, which was covered in Episode 153. We’ll put links to those episodes in the show notes, and I really think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go back and listen to at least the section on Mars and Neptune in those two episodes. It gives a lot more context to what we’re finishing up at this time.

Now, regardless of the aspect between them, Mars and Neptune never have a particularly easy time getting along because what they want is just so different. Mars is that primal energy in us that wants to move forward and get things done, and Neptune slows things down. Mars says, “What do I want to do? And what is the quickest course to get to what it is that I want to achieve?” Neptune says, “Well, why is it that I want to do this thing? It’s much more reflective.” So, the way it feels for Mars is a little bit like trying to walk through quicksand when it’s aspect in Neptune or it’s walking through water. And it feels as if it’s in one of those dreams where you’re moving and moving and you’re not getting anywhere.

This is the moment to reflect at the end of this series of squares, that we’ve been fighting to clarify what it is we want to do and the best way to move forward to do it. This has been complicated by that retrograde period of Mars from the end of October to mid-January and aggravated that feeling of kind of moving backwards instead of forward. So, whatever it is you might have set out to do when Mars entered Gemini at the end of August of 2022, it’s been really slowed down, and now we’re coming at last to the finish line. And perhaps, the fact that we have been slowed down has given things a chance to fall into place so that ultimately, we’re moving in the best possible direction.

Sagittarius Last Quarter Moon

Now, for the Moon Report for the week of March 13th. And, it begins with a Last Quarter Moon in Sagittarius on March 14th at 7:08 pm PDT. In this chart for the Last Quarter Moon, the Sun together with Neptune are square the Moon and the Moon is opposed Mars. So, this is a lot of tension even for a Last Quarter Moon chart, which is always inherently tense. The Sun and the Moon are in a square aspect to each other.

The Last Quarter is the final moment of examination and reflection in the Lunar Cycle. It’s the time when we take a look at our progress and we make one last push to the finish line. So, this Last Quarter is a chance to complete the first stage of our work that began at the Pisces New Moon on February 20th. Pisces is concerned with faith that things will work out as we wish, but the final square to that Pisces from Sagittarius urges us to move any particular direction based on the belief that having considered all the alternatives, this is the right way to go.

This Last Quarter Moon also represents the final critical moment in the Lunar Gestation Cycle that began with the Sagittarius New Moon on December 14th, 2020. If there is anything in your chart near 23° of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, or Pisces, that was probably the beginning of a pretty important Lunar Gestation Cycle. Sagittarius cycles are about undertaking an adventure, doing something new that we haven’t done before, perhaps looking at some higher education. So, think in those terms as you’re looking back on this cycle.

Void-of-Course Moon periods

Let’s take a look at the Void-of-Course Moon periods for this week. On March 15th, the Moon in Sagittarius makes a trine aspect to Venus in Aries at 1:50 am PST, it’s void-of-course for about three and one quarter hours, and enters Capricorn at 5:06 am. This is a nice way for a Void-of-Course Moon period to begin, especially lately when so many of them are beginning with the Moon’s last aspect to Pluto. By the time the Moon in Sagittarius ends on this trine to Venus in Aries, it has already made an opposition to Mars and a square to Neptune.

This is a little bit of a tired Moon in Sagittarius, but Sagittarius has this optimism, this adventurous spirit, and at this Void-of-Course Moon, it’s rewarded with a feeling of satisfaction and a little pat on the back. But know that Venus bestowing these rewards on the Moon, is approaching her square to Pluto, which we’re going to talk about in a little while. So, there may be some underlying strings attached to this reward. If somebody is offering you something very pleasant during this Void-of-Course Moon period, know that there might be a little bit of something underneath the surface.

On March 17th, the Moon in Capricorn makes a conjunction with Pluto at 7:13 am PST, which begins the shortest Void-of-Course period that we have had I think, since I started covering them on the podcast. It’s void-of-course for only 12 minutes before it enters Aquarius at 7:25 am. I think that what this shows us is, in the weeks that every Moon in Capricorn has ended on this conjunction with Pluto almost, because Pluto has been sitting at those very final degrees of Capricorn, that we have really come to some mastery of our emotions and some level of emotional self-sufficiency so that there is not a great need to dwell on the emotional discomfort of the Moon with Pluto.

And, on March 19th, the Moon in Aquarius makes a trine aspect to Mars in Gemini at 3:33 am PDT, it’s void-of-course for about four and a half hours before it enters Pisces at 8:12 am. So, this is another Void-of-Course Moon period that begins with trine aspect, this one is to Mars, but Mars is in the midst of a square to Neptune. So, this is similar to the Void-of-Course Moon period on March 15th with the Moon trine Venus, but Venus is making this hard aspect to Pluto. So, in both cases, there’s a little something extra going on beneath the surface.

But that said, I would say take this Void-of-Course Moon period to show some appreciation to your friends, especially the ones who have been with you through the long two-and-a-half-year transit of Saturn in Aquarius, and the ones who have been offering you encouragement. I’m looking at the Moon trine Mars, and the ones who really light a fire under you and show a lot of moral support and tell you “You can do it!” However, friends who have been giving advice as opposed to just encouragement, might however well-meaning have been a little bit off the mark. I think that probably is a sign of that Mars being involved with Neptune. So, you still have to make your own decisions and move in your own direction. But this is a nice four-and-a-half-hour period to contemplate how good your friends have been to you. The ones that have been there through a lot of hard times and really given you a lot of encouragement.

Sun conjoined Neptune (March 15, 2023, 4:39 pm PDT)
Mercury conjoined Neptune (March 16, 2023, 10:13 am PDT)

On March 15th at 4:39 pm PDT, the Sun makes its annual conjunction with Neptune at 25°05’ Pisces. The next morning, March 16th at 10:13 am, Mercury makes a conjunction to Neptune. So, I’m handling them together, because the Sun and Mercury never are that far apart, so they make aspects to the same planet fairly close together. Here is a saying that I ran across when I was younger: “Who would you be if you didn’t know who you were?” The very quotable baseball player, Satchel Paige said it slightly differently: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” When the Sun and Mercury connect with Neptune, give that idea a little bit of thought.

If we didn’t have our memories, it would not be clear who we would be. We base our sense of self on so many things that have happened before. And with Neptune in the picture, spend a little time fantasizing about the you that isn’t connected to a personality, the eternal solar part of you, which is here to grow into a particular shape regardless of the external circumstances that help form you. Mercury is again, the storyteller, the namer, and it says, “I am this. I play these roles in my life. I am a friend, a wife, a mother, a husband, a child” – all of these different roles that you play, and that’s just in your personal life.

So, as you give the Sun this week, a little room to imagine what it could be as the Sun comes together with Neptune, let Mercury go down a similar path of reflection and creativity and thinking, “What other ways can I refer to myself, name myself, and label myself?”

Sun square Mars (March 16, 2023, 11:09 am PDT)
Mercury square Mars (March 16, 2023, 9:48 pm PDT)

On March 16th at 11:09 am PDT, the Sun makes a square to Mars, and Mercury squares Mars later that evening at 9:48 pm PST. So, on March 15th and then early on March 16th, we have this Neptune daydream of the Sun and Mercury in a conjunction with Neptune, and now the Sun in Pisces squares Mars. And it’s like boiling water that’s generating steam to get things done. Mercury follows up with a square of its own that evening.

The Sabian symbol for the Sun at this square is “A new moon that divides its influences.” And this symbol always feels a little bit like moving in two directions at the same time, which actually both Pisces and Gemini really enjoy. But it can also mean that our attention is a little bit too divided to get something done. The Sun and Mercury are in a closing square to Mars and finishing up this long Mars in Gemini cycle with a chance to let go and to find peace and healing. So, whatever you may have been struggling with since August when Mars went into Gemini and began this very, very long transit there, it has a chance to be resolved if you can just let go of your end of the tug of war rope.

Venus square Pluto (March 16, 2023, 12:58 pm PDT)

Venus squares Pluto on March 16th at 12:58 pm PDT, at 29° 52’ Aries and Capricorn, a very intense combination. Venus square Pluto almost always describes some kind of obsession to get something that we desire. Venus is on the Sabian symbol, 30 Aries, “A duck pond and its brood“, and that’s a symbol that suggests there’s enough for everybody. But, the Sabian symbol for Pluto’s degree at this square, which is 30 Capricorn, “A secret business conference“, does suggest that there are powerful forces that might control who gets what.

Aspects between Venus and Pluto are usually felt in our relationships and in our financial dealings. This can be a time when you are facing some financial difficulties or setbacks and having to figure out how to do more with less. It can be a time when you’re feeling very intensely about trying to control how much money is coming in or how much money is going out. And when it comes to relationships, this can be one of those times when you’re really trying to make something happen that just isn’t flowing naturally. So, setting your cap for somebody, it is Venus at the very last degree of Aries, which is extremely determined to get what it wants, whether it’s really what’s right for us or not. And that’s often what we find when Venus comes together with Pluto that we are denied the thing that we so desperately want, but usually for good reason when we look back on it.

Venus enters Taurus (March 16, 3:34 pm PDT)

Later that afternoon, on March 16th at 3:34 pm PDT, Venus gets some relief as she moves into Taurus off that very intense square with Pluto. Venus will be in Taurus through April 10th. Taurus is one of the signs that Venus is said to rule, which means Venus has enormous strength in this sign. And what it is that we want in the coming few weeks while Venus is in Taurus can very often become ours through a process of trust and letting go of the need to control things. Venus in Taurus enjoys the simple pleasures of life, of the physical world, of being in a body. So, this is a great transit for taking care of yourself physically and enjoying time and nature. It is a time to show care and respect for what we own.

I remember Suze Orman, in one of her books, had this ritual of smoothing out all of the cash that she carried with her and arranging it by denomination and really caring for it. Because her feeling was, if you are showing respect for the money that you have, then more money will come your way. I don’t know how you feel about that, I don’t even really know how I feel about it, but I could tell you that I’ve done that with my cash ever since I heard her say that. So, it’s not a bad ritual, and it’s a little signal to ourselves to be grateful for what we have and to take care of it. We live in a time when so many of the things that we own are temporary. They’re not made to last. We don’t so much live in a culture, at least here in the United States, of taking care of things of resoling shoes instead of just throwing them out and getting new ones. A lot of the time, they weren’t that great to begin with. So, while Venus is in Taurus, see what you can do to take care of and appreciate all the things that are yours, and to enjoy the beautiful and simple pleasures of living in a body and on this planet.

Sun conjoins Mercury (March 17, 2023, 3:44 am PDT)

And finally, on March 17th at 3:44 am PDT, the Sun makes a conjunction with Mercury. This is on the heels of Mercury making a square to Mars the previous evening. So, as Mercury comes together with the Sun when it’s direct, it’s now going to start moving forward, faster and faster, headed towards its next retrograde, which begins on April 22nd. And, what can happen during this period is things seem to be moving really quickly and sometimes our heads get a little bit ahead of our hearts when it comes to the pace of life and decision making. I think this is especially true after Mercury enters Aries on March 18th. Then as I said, on April 22nd, Mercury will turn retrograde in Taurus and then Mercury starts to come back to the Sun and bring back all of the ideas and impressions that it will be collecting in the next few weeks as it is speeding ahead of the Sun.

This is an extremely action-packed month in the big sky with several important planets changing sign. Over the past few weeks, I gave you a three-part mini lesson on Saturn going into Pisces. Next week, Mars finally changes signs after seven months in Gemini, it will be going into Cancer, and we’ll talk about that then.

But this week, I want to begin a conversation about Pluto, which is by far the lowest moving planet in our solar system, moving into a new sign for the first time since 2008. It’ll move from Capricorn into Aquarius, at least briefly on March 23rd. But before I go any further, I want to remind us all that Pluto will not stay in Aquarius for very long. It’ll turn retrograde on May 1st and it will back into the last degrees, have Capricorn again on June 11th. Then, between January 20th and September 1st, 2024, it will spend a little more time in Aquarius, spend another brief period in Capricorn, before settling into Aquarius for good on November 19th, 2024.

So, whatever might come our way between late March and mid-June of this year, it’s really just a preview of coming attractions. In June, you can expect me to repeat some of what I’m going to say to you over the next few weeks about Pluto in Aquarius and refer you back to these episodes. And, while something as big as Pluto changing signs can bring immediate shifts in our collective experience as it did when Pluto entered Capricorn in Fall 2008 and the worldwide financial system was on the brink of collapse. These shifts of big planets can often take some months to show us what they are actually going to be about. And I think that’s part of this process of Pluto moving into a sign, backing out, moving back in, backing out, moving back in. It’s one of these things that has to settle over a little bit of time. So, by the time Pluto reenters Aquarius in January of 2024, it’ll be a good time to revisit some of these thoughts.

Now, first, let me talk about this transit in the most general terms. Pluto is the planet that transforms whatever is unnecessary, unsound or out of character. Over time, I think that matters related to Pluto’s sign undergo what we’ll call a rebirth. And that sounds very hopeful, and I think it is, but the process itself can be pretty unsettling. The years when Pluto was in Scorpio brought among other things, the AIDS crisis and a huge shift in society in perceptions about sex, about gay rights, about public health.

In the mid-990s, Pluto in Sagittarius saw a surge in fundamentalist terrorism. Sagittarius being a sign that’s associated with belief systems. And air transportation, which is often associated with Sagittarius, became the focus of these deadly episodes. There was TWA Flight 800 and ultimately the 09/11 attacks, which really have forever changed the way the public experiences air travel. And that Sagittarian sense of, the world is our oyster, and we should be able to get out an adventure without fear.

And finally, Pluto in Capricorn since 2008, has brought a sort of complete change in commerce really via Amazon and Walmart, and a broad mistrust of major institutions like government, big business, pharmaceutical companies. Now, the way things work with Pluto is that it is a bit like a cancer where cells grow out of control until they’re endangering the overall health of the host. Pluto rules power, and when too much power is congregated in too few hands, there is almost inevitably an implosion. And that’s what we often see by the time Pluto finishes its transit through a sign.

But, there’s no question, Pluto can also bring power your way. And, if you look at the Capricorn area of your birth chart, think about how different these areas of your life look today from how they looked in 2008. Hopefully, you have found some success in those areas of life, even if you also probably experienced a good amount of pressure. And now, coming out of Capricorn where it brought enormous power, but also destruction to a lot of traditional structures of society, Pluto is entering Aquarius. If we want to imagine how the paradigm is getting ready to shift, I don’t think we need to look any further than the last two and a half years that Saturn was in Aquarius before it just shifted to Pisces. Saturn expects us to grow stronger and to build useful things. And, the pandemic made it really a tough time to build Aquarian things like a strong sense of community, a clear vision for the future, those kinds of things.

Politics and other social movements come under the purview of Aquarius, and technology is also an Aquarian concern. And, as we stand at the very end of Pluto and Capricorn, Artificial Intelligence is hitting the mainstream. I think writers like me might very well see ourselves replaced by AI entirely by the time Pluto is finished with Aquarius in 2043!

My hope for Pluto in Aquarius over the next 20 years is to see society strengthened, for us as a collective to learn to use technology for the greater good, to restructure politically and economically. And, because Pluto is a transformational planet, that may very well be what comes out of the next 20 years. But realistically, Pluto transits don’t tend to begin with positive news, because its fundamental job is to root out what’s wrong, what is undermining the organism, so that it can be dismantled and taken away and cut out, and what remains is in integrity and strong. Pluto is kind of like a crew that comes in to remediate the black mold problem in your house. They will probably cure the problem, but they’ll have to tear out a lot of drywall first.

Over the next couple of episodes, I’ll share some thoughts as I did with Saturn moving into Pisces about Pluto in Aquarius moving through the Houses of the Horoscope and also in aspect to planets in the birth chart.

I’ll be returning in the month of April with listener questions, so if you have a question you would like me to answer on a future episode, consider leaving me a voicemail of one minute or less at I have many shy listeners that don’t seem to want to leave messages, but I would love to have your voices with me on the podcast. Of course, you can always email me your questions April(at)bigskyastrology(dot)com, and be sure to put “Podcast Question” in the subject line.

Well, that’s everything I have on my show sheet for this very full week, so I’m going to wrap this one up. Thank you so much for listening to The Big Sky Astrology Podcast. If you like what you’re hearing, please be sure to subscribe or follow the show in your app of choice. Leave a rating or review, and I hope you’ll help spread the word by telling an astrology loving friend about the podcast. You can read show notes and full transcripts and leave your comments about each episode at

Thanks very much to everyone who’s shown support for the podcast over the past year. On each episode, I’m thanking some donors by name. This week, let’s give a Big Sky Astrology Podcast shout out to Henrietta Winston and Vanessa Angulo!

April: Henrietta and Vanessa, thank you so much for listening to the podcast and for supporting the show with your donations. If you would like to support the show, please go to If you donate $5 or more, I will send you my upcoming bonus episode for the Aries Equinox and the Cancer Solstice episode in June.

That’s it for this episode. Join me again bright and early next Monday. And until then, keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the stars!

© 2023 by April Elliott Kent

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