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TRANSCRIPT Ep. 177 | Mercury Turns Direct: Let’s Dance!

TRANSCRIPT: EPISODE 177 | Mercury Turns Direct: Let’s Dance!

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April: Hello, invisible friend April here, and the date today is May 8th, 2023. Welcome to Episode 177 of The Big Sky Astrology Podcast.

This week, the Sun’s annual conjunction to Uranus influences the Aquarius Last Quarter Moon. Venus trines Saturn in an aspect that favors commitment in relationships. Mercury stations to turn direct, and I answer a Listener Question about the Tropical versus Sidereal Zodiacs.

Sun conjunct Uranus (May 9, 2023, 12:56 pm PDT)

The week begins with the Sun’s conjunction with Uranus on May 9th at 12:56 pm PDT, at 18°56’ Taurus, on the Sabian symbol, 19 Taurus, “A newly formed continent.” This conjunction, of course, begins a new Sun-Uranus cycle that takes about one year. The Sun and Uranus are of course in Taurus, and that is a sign in which Uranus has not been that comfortable since it entered there in 2008. Taurus is kind of the immovable object and Uranus is the irresistible force. When they come together, it’s a little bit like having an earthquake in your chart.

But I actually see this as a very positive combination. The Sun symbolizes our sense of who we are, and a lot of this is based on who we’ve always been, and to some extent what we and actually what others expect us to be. There is a point at which we can become a little bit imprisoned by that sense of self as though we are not allowed to try to be anything else. Uranus is always an influence that comes along and tries to liberate us wherever we have become imprisoned. So, to the extent that you feel like you’re in a little bit of a rut, that there are things maybe that you would like to try, but you feel as if it would be too out of character for you to do it, so you don’t want to take on those new challenges, this conjunction of the Sun with Uranus gives you a moment, an opening, an opportunity to challenge that – to question who you are and who you can be.

Remember, the Sabian symbol for this combination, “A newly formed continent.” It takes a tremendous amount of pressure and energy generated underneath the surface to push up, to create a new continent, and that’s the kind of explosive release of pressure that we can see at the Sun-Uranus conjunction. So, from that point of view, I find this a really exciting combination.

This is a year-long cycle between Sun and Uranus, and the opening square between them will come when the Sun is about halfway through Leo, then the opposition when the Sun is halfway through Scorpio, and finally, the closing square between them, when the Sun is about halfway through Aquarius. So, this is the beginning of that cycle when it’s time for you to explore, In what ways would you like to change? How can you transcend the person that you think you have to be in order to become the person you could be?

Mercury sextile Venus (May 12, 2023, 7:44 pm PDT) and Saturn (1:42 am PDT)

On May 12th, there’s a very interesting three-part sequence involving Mercury, Venus and Saturn. Venus will trine Saturn just before midnight PDT on May 12th, but leading up to that trine, Mercury will make sextiles to both Saturn and Venus. Now, Mercury is the messenger planet and messages are brought first to Saturn at 1:42 am, and then to Venus at 7:44 pm.

I see Mercury here as being a little bit like a mediator, setting the stage for Venus’s trine to Saturn. And Mercury is still in Taurus, and that brings a practical and common-sense dimension to two planets that will be meeting in that trine in the more emotional water signs of Cancer and Pisces. So, these sextiles are an opportunity I think to consider, for example, the financial dimensions of Venus coming together with Saturn, because Taurus really does represent that practical and earthy and financial side of Venus.

So, this could be coming up with concrete plans to build your wealth, to get rid of debt. And with Mercury still retrograde for a couple more days, this is a good time to review your spending and your budget and to do some organizing. Saturn represents discipline and restraint. So, if you could use a little more of that in the financial side of your life, these sextiles to Venus and Saturn should help you get that ball rolling.

Venus trine Saturn (May 12, 2023, 11:57 pm PDT)

Then, as I said, Venus in Cancer comes together with Saturn in Pisces just before midnight PDT on May 12th, both water signs. And, so, I tend to think that this trine between Venus and Saturn focuses us more on the relationship side of Venus. Now, some relationships in our lives are just for pleasure, but when Venus trines Saturn, a trine is a helpful and facilitating aspect of ease. And when the planet of relationship comes together with the planet of maturity and responsibility, we have an opportunity to commit ourselves in a deeper way to someone or something for the long haul.

This can be a moment when relationships deepen, because we’ve reached a point where we become ready to take on responsibility for another person and to do the work and make the sacrifices necessary to be in a mature and lasting relationship.

Aquarius Last Quarter Moon (May 12, 2023, 7:28 am PDT)

And now for the Moon report for the week of May 8th. It begins with an Aquarius Last Quarter Moon, also on May 12th – it’s a very busy day this week – at 7:28 am PDT, at 21°36’ Aquarius and Taurus. The Sun and Uranus in this chart that I talked about earlier in this episode in a conjunction with one another, are both square the Moon in Aquarius. A Last Quarter Moon is the time in the Lunar Cycle to push to the finish line that we set out for ourselves at that very intense New Moon Solar Eclipse on April 20th. That was a New Moon in Aries that encouraged us to set off in a pioneering and possibly a little bit daunting new direction.

At the First Quarter Moon on April 27th, we set sail on our new adventure. And, at the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on May 5th, we saw what we would need to get rid of in order to complete our journey.

And now finally, we’re at the Last Quarter Moon in Aquarius, and the question is, “What have we got to adjust in order to finish our mission?” Like the Sun and Uranus together in that conjunction, Aquarius is a sign of change, and sometimes it’s sudden change. But most of all, Aquarius asks, “Where are you headed in the long run? What does the future hold for you? And, what do you want to create that will live on after you?”

This is also the Last Quarter Moon in a Lunar Phase Family Cycle that began at the New Moon in Aquarius on February 11th, 2021. The First Quarter in that Cycle was on November 11th, 2021 and the Full Moon at August 11th, 2022. It’s not a bad idea to go back through your journals, through your calendar, through your records and see what it was that you set forth as your intentions for that February 2021 New Moon. Because you’re three quarters of the way through that cycle now, and it’s not too late to finish what you set out to do, but this is the time where you have to make a few changes and make one last push.

Void-of-Course Moon periods

Let’s look at the Void-of-Course Moon periods for this week. All the Void of Course periods are of a pretty modest length this week, only one and a half to three hours. And, all of them begin with the Moon in aspect with Jupiter. As Jupiter is finishing up its journey through Aries this month, these Void-of-Course periods prompt us to think about a couple of things: What it is that we believe about the world, and how can we get a bigger taste of it?

On May 8th, the Moon in Sagittarius trines Jupiter at 1:28 pm PDT, it’s Void of Course for just about three hours before it enters Capricorn at 4:33 pm. Void-of-Course Moon periods are terrific for changing patterns and habits, and this includes patterns and habits of thought. So, ask yourself during this three-hour period, “Are you asking enough of your life? Is it time for a grander adventure?”

The Moon in Sagittarius is very visionary, it’s ruled by Jupiter, and this is an opening to plan an adventure. Maybe you’ve been thinking about going back to school, taking a big trip, or just doing something that scares you a little bit, this is not the time to ask yourself, “Is it practical to do these things?” It really is the time to let your imagination run free and come up with a grand adventure that really feels like something you could get excited about.

On May 10th, the Moon in Capricorn squares Jupiter at 4:52 pm PDT, it’s Void of Course for a little over two hours, before it enters Aquarius at 7:05 pm. After that exuberant Void-of-Course Moon in Sagittarius, now is the time for the Moon in Capricorn to get us down to brass tacks. It’s great to have a big plan and to have a big adventure in mind, but what do we actually need to do to make it happen?

And finally, on May 12th, the Moon in Aquarius sextiles Jupiter at 8:15 pm PDT. It’s Void of Course for just about an hour and a half, before it enters Pisces at 9:39 pm. The Moon in Aquarius tells us there is yet another adventure on the distant horizon, which is the message of that Last Quarter Moon as well. Bu, here is a time during this Void of Course period to pay attention to the messages that come across your path. The big plans that you’ve been thinking about this week can lead to something bigger in the future. And, there are thoughts and messages and ideas that could come to you at this time to help you figure out the bigger picture.

Mercury turns Direct (May 14, 2023, 8:17 pm PDTZ)

On May 14th at 8:17 pm PDT, Mercury stations direct, it turned retrograde on April 21st, and it’s been a pretty lively retrograde period, at least around here. Mercury will take some time to move forward until it reaches Gemini on June 11th. While Mercury is still in Taurus, we can apply ourselves to things in the physical world, maybe straightening out the garden, getting things repaired, all of this is good when Mercury is in the practical earth sign of Taurus.

Mercury’s next retrograde period is between August 23rd and September 15th. It’ll also be in an earth sign, Virgo, and that is one of the signs that Mercury. In my experience, that tends to mean that the Mercury retrograde period is a little stronger. So, mark that period on your calendar now, so that you know leading up to that, that you might want slow down a little bit and make your schedule a little less full, so you can attend to matters that really require a lot of focus and analysis, because that’s what that particular Mercury retrograde period will be really good for.

Listener Question: Tropical vs. Sidereal Zodiac

In this week’s Listener Question, Listener Angela sent this question via Speak Pipe.

Angela: Hi there, thank you so much for all that you do. The question about Tropical versus Sidereal astrology. I have the understanding that Tropical astrology is cyclical, like Aries is always spring, et cetera, whereas Sidereal is about where things are according to the constellations. So, it wasn’t necessarily Aries rising on the horizon on the Spring Equinox. So, I guess I’m just curious about the difference between the two, relative to what we see in the sky.

And, for example, right now, Venus is in Gemini. Does that mean in the sky when Venus rises on the horizon, the constellation of Gemini is on the horizon? And if so, is that true for both Tropical and Sidereal? So, I hope that that question makes sense. Just curious about the two types and what it means about what we see in the sky versus what the archetypical cycles are, like the seasons, right, that don’t change? So, thank you for some clarity there. Appreciate you.

April: Angela, thank you for that question. The answer is relatively simple, but the mechanics behind it take a little bit of explanation, so, I’ll see if I can do your question justice.

Most so-called Western astrologers use a system called “The Tropical Zodiac”. And, in this system, we align the Vernal Equinox with the first degree of Aries, the first sign. Because, symbolically, the Vernal Equinox is the beginning of the seasonal year, and Aries is the first degree of the zodiac. To us, Aries embodies the spirit of the Vernal Equinox of new beginnings and energy.

Now, however, because of the precession of the Equinoxes, which is caused by a wobble in the Earth’s rotation on its axis, the Sun on the day of the Vernal Equinox, currently rises at about 5°30’ Pisces, or almost 24° before zero Aries. This precession is ongoing, and the difference between the Tropical and Sidereal Zodiac positions, grows by about one degree every 72 years.

Astrologers who use the Sidereal Zodiac, this includes but isn’t limited to Vedic astrologers, refer to the current position of the planets relative to the fixed stars. In other words, the constellations you would actually see rising in the East or setting in the West at a particular time.

But tropical astrology is based on the association of the signs with the seasons. It’s about our experience of the Sun. Tropical astrologers know about the precession of the equinoxes, but we favor this symbolic or metaphorical approach to the Zodiac. The fact that the Vernal Equinox has shifted to another constellation is less important to us than how we experience the Sun in our seasons here on earth. So, that is the technical part.

Here’s what it means for your experience of the sky. If an ephemeris based on the tropical system says that Venus is currently at say, 20° Gemini, then in the sky in the Sidereal system, it’s actually 24° or so earlier than that. So, in the sky, you would look for it in late Taurus. The Sidereal Zodiac places planets in the sky and in your birth chart 24° earlier, so very often this puts them in the previous sign.

If you cast your chart using the Sidereal Zodiac, you might be a Leo Sun in the tropical Zodiac and then turn out to be a Cancer Sun in Sidereal, or a Tropical Mars in Aries who turns into a Mars in Pisces in Sidereal. The only thing that changes from Tropical to Sidereal is the sign placement of some planets. The relationship or aspect between the planets and the horizon is exactly the same in both systems.

For example, on May 8th, the night after I release this episode, my Tropical chart shows 1°48’ Capricorn Rising and Venus at 1°48’ Cancer setting, at about 10:53 pm here in San Diego. But to someone who recognizes the constellations, they will look up in the sky and see lovely Venus setting at around 6°30’ minutes Gemini with Sagittarius rising in the East.

Angela, that was a wonderful question and I do hope my explanation was easy to follow.

Now, if you, invisible friend, have a question you’d like me to answer on a future episode, please leave a message of one minute or less at or email me at april(at)bigskyastrology(dot)com, and be sure to put “Podcast Question” in the subject line.

Donor Thanks

Well, gosh, it’s kind of a light news week astrologically. That’s everything I have on my show sheet, so I’m going to wrap this one up. Thank you 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 that you’ll 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 of my financial donors by name. This week, let’s give a Big Sky Astrology podcast shout out to Jennifer Logan and Maryanne Razzo!

April: Jennifer and Maryanne, 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 And if you donate $5 or more, I’ll send you my recent bonus episode for the Aries Equinox and the special bonus show for the Cancer Solstice that will come out 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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