The Sun enters Taurus I on 20 April 2023 at 4:14 am EDT — a part of the sky that Austin Coppock named The Plough, as a place strongly associated with the process of doing work now to enjoy delayed gratification later. T. Susan Chang recognizes this part of the sky as associated with the 4 of Disks — the management and control of wealth within and through the tools of urbanization and civilization, and through the mechanisms of trade and finance: power, once held, is rarely given up.
There was an annular solar eclipse today at sixteen minutes after my local midnight, lasting a total of 1 minute sixteen seconds at totality. Sliding across the Indian Ocean, across Indonesia, and into the Pacific, it may bring about sudden changes in the political landscape of the nations that saw it overhead.
However, excepting a few non-Australian and non-Indonesian readers and expats, I don’t expect this eclipse to have deep effects on most of my direct readers. In the US, this eclipse affects mostly the third-fourth-fifth and maybe sixth houses. On the one hand it sounds like a lot; and on the other hand it’s an exalted new Moon in the Third Mansion associated with the good fortune of the Pleiades and responsible for bringing in goodness and abundance. The Moon’s future conjunctions with Mercury and Uranus suggest that you’re likely to have the intellectual chops to face the surprises of the coming months with alacrity and cunning. Don’t sweat the small stuff or bemoan your fate — go get ’em, tiger!
The ancient Greeks of Alexandria looked to Charis at this time of year — the goddess who served as Aphrodite’s bathing attendant, and who was Hephaestus’s second wife. The myths report that Aphrodite was too beautiful, too beloved, so Zeus arranged for her to be married to the ugliest god, the lame and disfigured craftsman. Aphrodite liked him, but regularly hopped in bed with Mars/Ares. Hephaestus crafted a magical bed to trap them in this extramarital play, though, and brought the other gods to see their shameful behavior, the adulterers wrapped in magical chains by the bed’s cunning design. Unfortunately for Hephaestus, the other gods merely laughed at his cuckolded state, and Zeus shrugged his shoulders: “Aphrodite gonna love where she wills, my son. Can’t stop her.” Humiliated, Hephaestus freed them, but sought a divorce and married Charis instead — whose name means something like charm, gracefulness, and natural beauty. And yet — a great many myths assert that Hephaestus only had one wife. Aphrodite or Venus loved the jewels of undying chatoyance and shimmer, and the matchless garments and armor he made for her. It’s a common mythic conundrum, really… and yet it’s also really not that complicated if we consider the idea that Aphrodite, like any deity, has numerous facets and aspects and archetypes, not all of which are visible to all entities all at the same time. Consider, indeed, your own archetypes well — are you not sometimes a horny and sex-starved slut, and sometimes a devoted spouse? Sometimes a dutiful partner or perfectionist artist, and sometimes a jealous and insecure hobbyist? How much more so are the gods, who take on numerous forms we can barely conceive?
The first decan of Taurus belongs to Mercury. In The Plough, they stand for the kind of long-term thinking that farmers and wine-makers and timber-growers have to cultivate. When I worked at a Boy Scouts camp as an instructor in the early 2000s, I was surprised to learn that the camp’s property was a tree farm — and trees were harvested in limited runs on a 20-, 40-, 60-, 80-, and 100-year cycle. No part of the property was ever clear-cut; instead trees were cut based on issues like healthiness, straightness, circumference, health of nearby trees, and health of each species in the region. Ideally, trees were treated as more valuable, the older they got to be. Some parts of the property felt like old-growth forests with moss and a thick understory; other parts were more grassy and open. It takes a highly detailed plan and patience to cultivate a relationship with a forest that lasts beyond a single human lifetime — and Mercury here in a fixed Earth sign has some of that dedication and attention to detail that rewards long-term thinking with long-term gain.
The four dodeks of Taurus I share some of this long-range attitude — being recapitulations of Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, and Leo. Here is the Taurean’s steadiness of seeing the whole field of operations, followed by the duality of Gemini’s exploratory care in choosing and deciding on courses of action; (which stands for the idea of “on the one hand… on the other hand…”); the nurturing and care that Cancer shows by caretaking a property for the long haul; followed by the willpower to follow through on the plan of harvest and perform the necessary axe-swinging.
The Ascendant is in Pisces, with the Sun in Taurus below the earth. That makes this a night chart — but one in which all the planets are debilitated by sect except the Sun and Jupiter. Jupiter makes favorable financial decision that accord with passion, and the Sun casts a great deal of attention and excitement on extended familial issues — long-term plans can expect some significant upheaval (experienced this one myself, a few days early)
Let’s start with Pluto — the amplifier is in the twelfth house, bringing issues of places of retreat under worldly scrutiny. In Christian scriptures, the Virgin Mary, in her famous Magnificat, announces “He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.” A great many in positions of power will stumble badly in the week ahead, and a number of significant outsiders will find themselves in new positions of leadership… which may lead to some other kinds of stumbles, a newbie with a few lucky wins up against old-timers depending on prize money. Revelations of corruption of leadership in hospitals, prisons, cathedrals, courthouses, and cemetery boards are on the table.
Saturn, The Lot of Fortune, and Neptune are all in Pisces in the first house —with aset of sextiles and trines joining Saturn, at least temporarily, to the Nodes about to play host to the first Solar Eclipse of 2023 on April 20 (Thursday this week). Saturn creates stiffness and physical inflexibility around our self-presentation — we have traditional duties to our extended family, but that throws monkey wrenches and caltrops into the paths of our travel plans. Pay attention to signs of sickness in your physical body — recognize that self-care is where you have your greatest freedom now. However, recognize that sometimes your body will give you false signals about what the right course of action is.
Jupiter brings a favorable resolution to several money questions, which allow you to pursue your passions; a favorable expansion of your possessions may be marked by gifts of clothing, perfume, or gift certificates to sauna or hot tub experiences — yet be aware that it’s an easy time to blow your budget, so keep track of what are legitimate and frivolous expenses.
Moon will eclipse Sun at 12:16 am EDT in the last degrees of Aries on 20 April 2023, just a few hours before this column’s guidances take effect. By 9 am, the Moon will move on to a sextile with Saturn — re-emphasizing and bringing a head to the revelations of Pluto … just in time for the first press conferences of the day. In the last column, we noted that there was a certain amount of evidence of being in the “f*ck around” portion of the program… April 20 marks the start of several months of “find out” season.
Mercury and Uranus are also both in Taurus, in the middle decan called the Lingam Yoni. The two planets are famed for their awareness of magic, with Mercury oft playing the role of the court advisor and Uranus the revolutionary mountebank with a carnival wagon in the public square, selling snake oil. This time, working in concert in both the public sphere and the private one, they promise to bring ‘good trouble’ to any and all conversations about autonomy, agency, consent, sexuality and personal rights. Liberty and Freedom should make an appearance too. A lot of those conversations have to happen in the personal spheres of our own families — you don’t want to, maybe… but that’s where the upheaval needs to happen before it happens in the public sphere.
Venus and the Imum Coeli are both in Gemini, and both in the middle decan The Hermaphrodite. Chosen family and blood family look different, or have different priorities, but they’re both stronger when blended. It’s a time to find a way to diplomatically and compassionately bridge the gaps between people whose ideals are so strong that they have forgotten humanity; and between those whose hope of immortality doesn’t help them reach for those in this life that they believe are destined to die. Neither lives or dies without the other — Venus invites us to be the bridge this week.
Venus and Mercury are in a rare arrangement this week, one called Mutual Reception — basically, each of them is in a sign that the other planet rules, while also being in signs that can’t see one another (signs next to one another are said to be inconjunct or in aversion). This makes planets act as themselves in the place where they are, but also sort of “bi-locates” them to be where the other one is. Thus Venus is the master diplomat and ambassador to your extended family and intimate friends and neighborhood; and Mercury is the tender lover of your own chosen family and household. Say often and with full-heartedness your love to all the people in your life that matter, and reserve the hate or the expressions of “problematicness” for another day — the power of doing battle is not well-placed in the chart for now.
Which brings us, neatly, to that power of doing battle — Mars. He’s in Cancer, the place of his exile, and opposing the place of his exaltation, in the decan called The Walled Garden. When Hercules went mad with PTSD after the Trojan War, the Oracle of Delphi set him to the famous Twelve Labors — He got do do manly stuff like slay beasts and hurl shit around and tame lions. But it didn’t cure his PTSD. Then the Oracle set him to work doing feminine stuff for a year and a day: dressing in women’s clothes, doing knitting and weaving, cooking food, washing and sewing clothes. That cured him. If your thoughts tell you not to do something, just because it’s not appropriate for your gender… it’s the right time to lay that thought aside and just try it for a while, see if it fits. And it’s not about making your spouse or partner happy — it’s about making you happy.
The South Node in the ninth house makes writing and travel difficult over the next ten days… add additional time to travel. When it comes to getting on airplanes or avoiding tickets, remember that your words are weapons — use them sparingly, with forethought and judicious restraint, and with an awareness that dueling between private citizens, or by civilians on officers of the law, is considered a criminal act in most countries.
The Midheaven in Sagittarius’ second decan The Harness, reiterates the theme of self-care, personal maintenance, and a balance of work for others and play for yourself. Don’t give in to the pressure to work long hours and stick around “in case the boss needs you.” If you have a contract, work-to-rule is a great attitude to adopt this week. OR as one of the telephone booth poems (#47, I think) had it,
"I told them I wasn't coming to work today
They asked, why, are you sick?
"No, I said, I am too well!
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Pisces: You are your own worst critic right now, and it’s probably the image you see in the mirror which you have the most criticism for. Dysmorphia is real — but you can change the things you can change, and you can have some wisdom to know the changeable things from the unchanging ones. Don’t be too severe or stiff-necked; recognize that some of this is tradition… but you also don’t have to be the tradition alone — you can also be its modern critic. Your family can be a source of support in this turmoil, but it will take some time. Let your household be a place of refuge… and try breaking gender norms, for yourself, as a treat.
Aries: Financial matters will be high on your list these next ten days — but stretch your legs and warm up your ankles before any sprints — either to finish the software on time, or before running the marathon. Contests, diagnostics, and Op-Ed pages are places where you’re likely to self-sabotage; stick to documented facts, walk through the maze of opinion along the route to the truth, and don’t let confirmation bias get in the way of fact. It’s a slippery world out there; be sure of your footing. Family and intimate friends may feel like they’re stealing the light, but it’s a terrible time to fight even if that’s your first instinct; accept overtures of peace, no matter how clumsily offered.
Taurus: There’s time when you’re at a wedding, and the song We are Family! comes on, and you’re so eager to dance. But some part of you may be seething about the responsibilities that come along with that role. Some part of you is going to be eternally changed by the shifts that you help propagate in the next few months, but it comes in part from remembering the other song, I get by with a little help from my friends. Open your wallet to improve the beauty of your house’s exterior, but concentrate on parts of the private garden rather than the public view, you might find some treasures when you get your hands dirty, and wet.
Gemini: Family and household may need you to play peacemaker in ways that go against your traditional ideas about gender and — no, let me back up. Your usual ideas about gender will get a shake-up this week, and you’re likely to stumble in traps of your own making if you get argumentative about it with family and close friends. Try figuring out a path toward conciliation this round. It’s OK to be passionate about gender, to educate, to advise — but enthusiasm, curiosity and compassion will take your audience farther than “woe unto you!” messages from a barefoot prophet in the desert act. Something broken may require an expensive but secretive repair or replacement.
Cancer: Some friend may suggest a vigorous hike, a challenging gym day, a marathon leadership seminar. Offer an alternative:a stroll in the botanical gardens, an afternoon at the beach, a leisurely cocktail hour at a neighborhood bar. Or, if their suggestions are a bit too leisurely, suggest something more active. Too selfish? Suggest something more communal. Friendship deepens by a change in routines, and new experiences. Find out how much to trust their association with you, and learn something about yourself, and your friends. Workplace duties grow; ask for a raise for the parts of the job you care about.
Leo: You’ve gotten a little lazy about your workplace professionalism. It’s Ok, these things happen, but you have a six-month wndow in which sharp eyes are going to be watching more carefully than usual. If you want this job, the play is to dazzle them with your intimate knowledge of human experience. If you don’t want the job, though, know that your usually graceful exit may be a self-sabotaging pratfall.Dying is easy, comedy is hard, goes the actors’ aphorism; a little humility onstage and off will also make things easier with a spouse or partner, who will be unswayed by the old I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. You need that burger from them, pal? Show up with today’s pay.
Virgo: Put your partner first these next ten days. OK, that’s easy to say, but it’s not always easy to do — especially if you’re single! But there’s a lot of people out there who are your significant peers, whose work makes your life and well-being possible: the waitress at your coffee place, the grocery store clerk, the greeter at WalMart, the tight-lipped teller at the bank. Be gracious and courteous to them all, whether you think they’re fools or critics of you and your lifestyle or unsympathetic minor characters in a sitcom shouting “no soup for you.” The stuff you learn from these folks these next ten days, may wind up consuming a great deal of your professional intention and consideration over the next six to eighteen months… and you may not be able to do much for them today… but the harvest from the seeds you set this week could be extraordinary.
Libra: Venus is in a doubly favorable position this week to thrust three things you want into your life— but it means saying yes to your boss, and yes to your partner’s family, and yes to your community — and then figuring out the travel plans and educational goals that the triple affirmatives require. It’s a host of new responsibilities, very weighty duties that are going to result in criticism of your lifestyle, and a great many hard limits on your daily routines. But — these next ten days are like setting the trajectory of a rocket ship — you need to decide where you want to be in two or three years, and get all the vectors mostly plotted before you leave the ground. Everything has to go on the same schedule, and you still only have 24 hours a day.
Scorpio: Michael Hutchence in the 1980s band INXS sang words are weapons, sharper than knives, and you have been speaking in ways that wound yourself more than they hurt others. Lay off the self-deprecating jokes, and turn your attention toward your own happiness — just recognize that there are some forms of entertainment that are going to be off the agenda for a while, and that you also have to greatly expand the range of your daily activities. A new and exciting partner may appear in your life, but it’s also possible that you’re winding down another relationship; be very clear about who you’re texting, and why, and with what info, before you press send. And be very cautious, too, about what gets photographed, by whom, and where that image ends up.
Sagittarius: You’re going to be facing augmented familial duties, and limited ability to access household resources for a little while… but household comforts are also where you’ll have the most leeway. You’ll be entertainer and executive chef, and have a rotating array of daily employment, and your wizardry (and chicanery) iwll have to be managed carefully. Love everyone, but communicate clearly to your significant other. Expect financial challenges to hit your spouse or signficant other, too, and advise them accordingly. Whenever you look to be alone, that’s where trouble will find you; send your lifelines out to friends.
Capricorn: You’ve had to do a great many things on your own over the last two and a half years. However, recently some old friends seem to have washed up on the beach, and are willing to make time for you. You can be a critic of their willingness to seek your friendship after their own shipwreck — and your own financial well-being may or may not play a part — but you needn’t reject them either. But you also need not believe every story you hear — nor trust every truth-teller nor doubt every liar. Feeling out friend from foe is the name of the game here, not who sticks to the facts. Your house can be a place of refuge and mercy for many, and a place of entertaining diplomacy. Just be aware that your current spouse or significant other may be hiding secret anger about your strategic or tactical choices — and you may have to admit them to your confidence, even if you don’t trust them.
Aquarius: Your skills of analysis and criticism are humming on all cylinders, and you can see the professional faults of your workplace team, as well as the family disasters spinning out of control. Where you have freedom, though, is in reserving that criticism until you understand how it affects your compensation: Is your criticism valid? in all likelihood, yes. Is your analysis likely to be respected? Probably not. It’s a long and winding road to get from freedom to analyze to freedom to institute change. And the first thing that needs to change is your enthusiasm for delivering devastating critique: do that here, and you will wound and cripple people who are already injured; heal them with kindness and tact and prudence, and you will dig a fountain in a dry wasteland.
I have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it continues its third year. Those funds support artists, artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to the well-being of the world. You can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments; any column I write after receiving a Ko-Fi donation will be open to the public). You can also schedule an appointment with me using Accuity Scheduling, for a natal or solar return consultation.
If you want to read some of my astrologically-oriented poetry, the largest collection is called A Full Volume of Splendor and Starlight, available through my Etsy shop, and containing poems and hymns to the planets, constellations, decan deities, and Moon Mansion angels. While not astrological, Festae contains hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits from the calendar created by Numa Pompilius, the second ancient King of Rome.
I use iPhemeris for my charting software, and screenshot it to make charts. I want to thank the team that develops iPhemeris for the addition of Terms and Decans to their charts. I also use Hugh Tran‘s Physis typeface to craft logos for this blog, as well.
I use Christopher Warnock‘s The Mansions of the Moon as the basis of my Moon placement delineations, and Austin Coppock‘s 36 Faces for much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me.
The next decan begins the morning of April 30, 2023.