Astrological Beltane occurs when the sun reaches 15 degrees Taurus. During the period from Beltane to summer solstice, the sun passes through the second half of the sign Taurus, and all of Gemini, sign of commerce and communication. Although the Bull (Taurus) might seem at first to be just as aggressive a symbol as the Ram (Aries), they are as different as night and day. While Aries moves fast, Taurus is careful where they step. While Aries might be described as blunt and outspoken, Taurus is more likely to keep their secrets and smile a lot. Taurus is, after all, ruled by lovely Venus, which likes to see everyone happy. Aries, being a fire sign, is likely to be fired up and ready for action at a moment's notice. Taurus, an earth sign, needs prompting before it will leave the comfortable situation it has established for itself. But if you're the one who disturbs Taurus' comfortable environment-watch out!
A ceremony that takes place under the sign of the bull has all the substance of everything related to Taurus. Taurus rules the second house of money and values. Beltane rituals down on the farm involve blessing the crops and the livestock, so that they can grow and you can prosper. It's no coincidence that Wall Street chooses the bull as symbol of a thriving, growing stock market. It's the bull, not the ram, that is usually portrayed as a sex symbol. Aries is just too aggressive, and somewhat impatient; Taurus, lover of flowers, knows how and when to be gentle, has staying power, and can wait patiently. "Sensual" and "practical" are words that describe Taurus.
Many years ago, I took a trip with a friend to the ocean. My friend had a grandmother who lived on a farm near Aberdeen, and on the way we visited her. She was beaming ecstatically when we arrived. When we asked her how she was doing, she said, "Wonderful, just wonderful! Fourteen cows, and fourteen calves!" That's the spirit of Beltane.
Neptune goes retrograde, until late October. Retrograde planets reflect energies turned inward. Since Neptune governs spirituality and psychic energies, you can use the period between May and October to meditate, follow your inner path, or develop intuition or psychic sensitivity. It's a time to reassess the guiding visions in our lives, and make sure they are not self-deceptions. Even the most noble purpose can become a limiting straitjacket or misguided passion when it has outlived its usefulness. Neptune also rules illusion, deceit and confusion, so make sure you protect yourself during rituals and meditations.
Sun enters Gemini 3:47 p.m.
Farewell to earthy practicality, hello to fast-moving air! While the sun is in Gemini, it's a good time to engage in activities that involve other people. Gemini loves to communicate, but you can't communicate very well when you're alone! It's a time to work on versatility, adaptability, and mental agility. Patience is not a virtue of Gemini, so you may need to force yourself, during the coming month, to settle down and do something about the dozens of ideas that present themselves. On the other hand, it's a lesson for the earth-bound to escape into the airy world of ideas and flights of fancy once in a while.
3:44 a.m. Mercury enters Gemini
Mercury, planet of speed and swift communications, arrives at its own home, Gemini. This time period (from now until June 11) is favorable for any type of communication, written or verbal, and for short-distance travel. (Short, of course, is a relative term. What's a long trip for one person can be a short one for someone else.)
8:18 a.m. Venus enters Cancer
Venus, planet of relationships, beauty and harmony, enters the sign of home and mothering. Beware of a tendency to feel over-protective toward loved ones. While Venus is in Cancer (now until June 29), it's a good time to bring beauty, art, and harmony to your home, and to nurture special relationships.
Since the 2nd of February, the planet of luck and generosity has been retrograde, producing a lack of opportunities, leaving us to get by on our own resources. Sources of income may have decreased, or unexpected big expenditures may have arrived uninvited. It's time once again to breathe easier and hope for help just around the corner.
New Moon, 2:55 p.m.
The new moon in Gemini is a good time for ceremonies that focus on sisters and brothers, neighbors, short trips, or elementary school education. It brings favorable energy to requests for easier communications, for impartiality and flexibility, and is especially beneficial for those with a naturally inquisitive mind. Begin new writing projects.
12:03 a.m. Mercury, planet of speed and swift communications, enters Cancer
Communication can be tricky while Mercury is in a water sign. The emotions are almost always involved, and sensitivity is heightened. Mercury in Cancer focuses the mind on internal or personal issues, rather than on the outer world. From now until June 29, when Mercury enters Leo, it's a good time to work on understanding your nonverbal communications, and to think about whether or not you might be communicating in ways that demand the sympathy of others.
7:03 p.m. Mars, planet of energy and ambition, enters its home sign, Aries
From now until July 29, when Mars moves into Taurus, you can benefit from the clear, strong energy of Mars in Aries. We are in a new moon period, so the energy is increasing, building. It's a good time for physical activity, for building physical strength, and also to take off in directions you haven't gone before (Aries, the pioneer). This is a good preparation for the retrograde Uranus period, which begins in a few days.
Uranus goes retrograde at 3:30 p.m., in Pisces (until Nov 15, 2005)
Since Uranus is the planet of reversals anyway, what difference should it make when it actually does go backwards? Ay, there's the rub. Uranus can bring insight and revolutionary change, but when it goes into reverse gear, you are under powerful pressure to transform the areas of your life that have become too comfortable and settled. This is particularly true for those born on or around March 1, June 1, September 3, or December 3. Changes brought about by Uranus can be exciting, although it's often very stressful to let go of the familiar. Retrograde Uranus requires us to be especially flexible. Pay attention to accidents or unexpected coincidences, since they can be the signs that point you in the directions you need to follow.
Movement of the slower planets between Beltane and summer solstice:
I am always interested in feedback. If you have questions or comments about this article or series of columns, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd especially love to hear from any of you who have experience with astrology for the southern hemisphere.