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TRANSCRIPT Ep. 179 | Sun Meets Saturn: Inhospitable Soil!

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April: Hello, invisible friend, April here, and the date today is May 22nd, 2023. Welcome to Episode 179 of The Big Sky Astrology Podcast.

This week, Mars squares Jupiter and the Lunar Nodes, Venus makes a breezy aspect to Uranus, the Virgo First Quarter Moon asks us to serve, and the Sun square to Saturn feels a little bit pinchy. Plus, I answer a colorful and imaginative Listener Question about how essential dignities influence the houses of the chart.

Mars square Jupiter (May 22, 2023, 10:13 pm PDT)

The week begins with Mars making a square aspect to Jupiter on May 22nd at 10:13 pm PDT. Mars is the planet of asserting ourselves and going after what we want, and it also describes the style in which we will go about doing things. Mars, of course, is in Leo, which I talked about last week, and it began its journey through this sign with an opposition to Pluto, which is a little bit like walking into a room and being met with a ferocious polar bear.

Now, Mars makes the square to Jupiter, which is newly in Taurus. Jupiter generally is a pretty comfortable planet for Mars to interact with. Mars wants to get things done, Jupiter says, “Sure, more, faster, bigger.” But Jupiter is in Taurus, which doesn’t want to be rushed, doesn’t want to move too quickly. So, when Mars in Leo comes along to push Jupiter, it really has its work cut out for us. So, I guess what I’m saying is this week with this aspect in place, it really is about pushing, pushing our own limits of physical energy and of ambition. The Mars in Leo wanting to do something in particular and really not getting very far because we’re pushing against Jupiter, the big guy, and he is not in a mood to move.

On the other hand, there are things that are very worthwhile to do that simply won’t get done unless we push really hard, and this is a good transit for that to overcome inertia and to move something along. You know, if you’ve had to push very hard for a long time, let’s say you’re pushing your shoulder against a door that’s stuck and you put so much energy into it, and then, when it finally gives away, we kind of go spilling into the next room. So, it takes sometimes a lot of pushing to overcome a door that’s closed to us, and because we put so much energy and momentum into it, sometimes, we go a little bit overboard and fall down on the other side, but at least we get past the inertia.

Because Mars is in Leo and it has that wonderful leadership flair, this is also a good time to inspire others to take action and to join us in whatever it is that we are trying to accomplish, even if it’s just pushing open a door that’s stuck.

Venus sextile Uranus (May 26, 2023, 00:37 am PDT)

Then, on May 26th, Venus sextiles Uranus at 12:37 am PDT at 19°53’ Cancer and Taurus. Venus is on the Sabian symbol, 20 Cancer, Gondoliers in a serenade, and Uranus is on the symbol, 20 Taurus, Wind, clouds and haste. These are Sabian symbols that paint a picture of movement – the Gondoliers, the wind, the clouds. Venus is still in Cancer, so this could be about creating more space and movement in our homes, possibly more harmony as well, since Venus is on that Gondoliers in a serenade degree.

This is also an aspect that could symbolize that something that you desire could make you want to run away from home in order to have it. Now, not necessarily literally, but there is this sense that a pleasant encounter that gives us a little bit of a sense of belonging opens up a possibility to tear ourselves away from what is familiar and cozy.

Venus is a symbol of relationships, and when it connects with Uranus, there is this sense of wanting a little bit of independence in our relationships.

Now, this is a little bit at odds with Venus in Cancer, which generally does not want that, generally wants to stay very cozy within familiar relationships, but there is something about Uranus, especially on this symbol, Wind, clouds and haste that says change could be in the air in our relationships.

Also, this is a symbol of finances, and this could be a week when we find some unexpected income coming our way or some unexpected expenditures and possibly a little bit of both.

Mars square the Lunar Nodes (May 26, 2023, 1:05 pm PDT)

On May 26th at 1:05 pm PDT, Mars makes a square to the Lunar Nodes at 3°32’ Leo, and with the Nodes at 3°32’ minutes of Taurus and Scorpio. The Sabian symbol for 4 Leo is, A man formally dressed and a deer with its horns folded. And it’s very interesting to have Mars, which is that symbol of the least civilized part of humanity, and we have it dressed here in this formal attire. It’s a little bit of a contradiction, but Mars’ true nature is shown in the deer with its horns folded.

This symbol is really about presenting a particular image of success in order to get some kind of acceptance or even applause from the community. But I think we have to be really careful not to confuse this role we’re playing, with a particular kind of clothing or a trophy as being the real story about who we are and our true worth. And the North Node on the Rainbow’s pot of gold degree represents the idea of true abundance of the faith and spiritual dimension of power. With the North Node of the Moon here, it’s about feeling truly rich compared with trying to play the role of being rich and successful.

Virgo First Quarter Moon (May 27, 2023, 8:22 am PDT)

And now, it’s time for the Moon Report for the week of May 22nd. It begins with a Virgo First Quarter Moon on May 27th at 8:22 am PDT Pacific Time, at 6°5’ Virgo. This particular First Quarter Moon is in a very tight T-square with Saturn, so we have the Sun square, the Moon, which is opposed Saturn at 6°50 minutes of Pisces. This was a New Moon Cycle, the Taurus New Moon, that set out a path of calm and ease, especially contrasting with those last two Aries New Moons.

The Virgo First Quarter is the point of activating a very specific goal. The Sabian symbol, 7 Virgo is, A harem and that’s a symbol of individual sacrifice and of our status as one of many. The symbol for the Sun is 7 Gemini, An old fashioned well. And as Sabian symbol expert James Burgess notes, It describes the qualities of nature that replenish themselves and of interchanges with other people that replenish us as well.

The Virgo First Quarter Moon is exactly opposed Saturn in Pisces on the symbol A cross lying on the rocks. This is a symbol of both faith, Pisces, and the difficult terrain well in keeping with the symbolism of Saturn. So, what we have overall with this First Quarter Moon and these particular symbols is a message of sacrifice, of rocky terrain on our path ahead, but also, that the energy that we expend will be naturally replenished by the process of taking action on our New Moon goals.

This is the First Quarter Moon in the Lunar Phase Family Cycle that began with the August 27th, 2022 New Moon at 4°3’ Virgo. The Full Moon in this Lunar Phase Cycle will come on February 24th, 2024, and the Last Quarter Moon comes on November 22nd, 2024.

Void-of-Course Moon periods

Let’s look at the Void-of-Course Moon periods for this week. There are only two of them this week, but one of them is nearly a full day long.

On May 24th, the Moon in Cancer trine Neptune at 2:12 am PDT, it’s Void of Course for just about five and one quarter hours, before it enters Leo at 7:35 am. This is a Void-of-Course Moon that lets us break the emotional habit of carrying little hurts and insults around with us. “How good are you at forgiving and forgetting?” Because Cancer is a sign that holds onto things, and that includes difficult emotions. But, it’s trine aspect to Neptune suggests that there is some healing that’s possible at this time so that we can wash the slate clean and move on along a different path.

This would be a nice Void-of-Course Moon for enjoying some music, writing some poetry, just something that really helps you get into your emotions so that you are able to make peace with them and let them go.

On May 25th, the Moon in Leo squares Uranus at 11:38 pm PDT, and it is Void of Course for about 20 and three quarters hours, then it enters Virgo on May 26th at 8:05 pm PDT. So, almost the entirety of Friday, May 26th, is Void of Course, at least here in the States, and it’s a period that begins on the Moon’s square to Uranus, it’s calling for change. And the question we have to ask ourselves is, “Are we demanding more than our share of attention? Are we being too rigid in our leadership style?”

Maybe somebody has recently cut you down to size because you had gotten a little bit full of yourself. This very long Void-of-Course Moon day, on the eve of the Sun’s square to Saturn, is a time to change our habits and any patterns of self-importance.

Sun square Saturn (May 28, 2023, 3:46 am PDT)

The Sun squares Saturn on May 28th at 3:46 am PDT. This is one of two annual squares that the Sun makes to Saturn, and these are two pretty difficult periods out of each year, from the moment the Sun enters the sign where it will eventually make this square. And in this case, May 21st when the Sun entered Gemini. This is a time when it feels really hard to make any kind of forward progress with anything. I’ve often said, this is a little bit like planting a seed in soil that is very hard, very compacted and giving it very little water. It’s very hard to see how it can prosper and grow into something healthy. We have to work twice as hard to make progress when the Sun is making one of these squares to Saturn. But, on the plus side, if we keep at it and succeed, we can be sure that this is something we truly want.

Gemini likes to have fun, it likes to play with people, with language, with ideas. When Saturn in Pisces is square the Sun in Gemini, it’s a reminder that our words can hurt and that we need to be really serious and deliberative in the way we use language. It’s also a reminder that even though Gemini’s job description requires it to keep moving, that is not always okay with the people who love and depend upon us.

Listener Question: An Unsuitable Guest House

In this week’s Listener Question, Listener Travilla asks, “If I am luxuriating poolside at George and Amal Clooney’s Lake Como manse, and meanwhile, George has but a halberd borrowed from the Vatican Swiss guards to defend himself from the impeccably groomed, perfectly manicured and wonderfully aromatic Milanese werewolves blocking his path, he is going to be hard pressed to return from the store in time with the ingredients I need for the afternoon cannoli workshop I’m running with Martha Stewart and Gwyneth Paltrow. Similarly, will a transiting planet’s stay in a certain sign or House be adversely affected if said house or sign’s ruler is at the same time afflicted, in fall, in detriment or otherwise de-powered and unable to suitably provide for a guest?”

April: Well, first of all, I want to assure everyone that I did not write this hilarious and wildly imaginative question. Alert listeners might recognize the distinctive literary voice of this listener from previous questions, but he, she or they, prefers to remain anonymous using a variety of imaginative noms de podcast.

But it is a great question. And, if we remove George Clooney, which I absolutely never recommend, Milanese werewolves whose hair was perfect, and cannoli, it comes down to this. Let’s say we’re looking at this big transit of Jupiter in Taurus that I talked about last week, and let’s further say that this transit of Jupiter is moving into the 4th House of your chart with Taurus on the cusp, and Venus, the ruler of Taurus, is in the 8th house square Saturn in the 6th. Now, in Traditional Astrology, the 6th and 8th Houses are more or less reviled and considered Irredeemably unlucky. So, having them connected by a ruling planet must be the height of ill fortune, right?

Well, in practice it might act something like this. Let’s say the newly crowned King of England announces his intention to visit a country estate. Mind you, this is the country home of a Duke or something, so it is tolerably well stocked with cannoli fixings, but it’s not a palace, and we might have some concerns that it might look a little downscale to a king, and maybe not even quite large enough to comfortably accommodate all his retinue. Plus, this 4th House is ruled by Venus in late Virgo, not one of its happier or stronger signs, in the diabolical 8th House and in a square aspect to Saturn in the 6th House. As is the case for many grand country estates, it can be a struggle to finance the upkeep and pay the taxes, let alone pay for servants to deal with all of these esteemed guests in the style to which they are accustomed. I mean, we’ve all watched “Downtown Abbey”. So, a visit from a Kingly Jupiter on his way to Balmoral might be a little bit of a social coup, but as you can see, it’s a little bit of a mixed blessing.

Now, contrast this with the same situation, but with Venus in Taurus in the 5th House, sextile Natal Jupiter in Pisces in the 2nd House. The Lord of this Manor has quite a bit of flair, thanks to Venus in the 5th House, and more importantly, has plenty of cash in the coffers. Because Jupiter is in its rulership in the House of money, no one is going to have to dodge werewolves on their way to pick up ricotta, in fact, they’re probably lousy with this stuff already.

I guess I’d say that in either scenario, we’ve got the advantage of Jupiter in a sign ruled by Venus, and those are terrific symbols. In the end, both households are getting a visit from the King and they will make the King feel welcome and show the very finest hospitality. But for one of these households, it’s going to take quite an effort and feel like an enormous cost. While for the other, it just means ordering a little extra ricotta in advance.

And that’s how I would evaluate transits as they are moving through Houses of the Chart based on the strength of that house as determined by the condition of its planetary ruler.

Travilla, I hope that’s a satisfying answer to your extremely colorful and cinematic question, and that the rest of our listeners took away something useful from it as well.

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 and be sure to put “Podcast Question” in the subject line.

Donor Thanks

Well, that is everything on my show sheet, so I’m going to wrap this one up. Thanks for listening to the Big Sky Astrology Podcast. If you like what you are hearing, be sure to subscribe or follow the show in your app of choice. Leave a rating or review, and I hope that you will 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 such 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 Lisa Moore and Paula Hepner!

April: Lisa and Paula, 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’ll send you my recent bonus episode for the Aries Equinox and I’ll send you the Cancer Solstice bonus episode that will be coming up in June.

That is 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.

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