April is notoriously a powder keg of a month.  Three, two, one, KABOOM.   The Sun in fiery Aries often triggers impulsive or volatile acts.  April 2017 is no exception.  Added to the usual combustible energy is an inordinate amount of planetary gear shifts, both retrograde and direct motion.  The month opens with three planets in the Warrior sign, in the beginning, middle and latter stages of Aries, ramping up the dynamic that much more and just to make sure all the bases are covered!
Aries at its best is terrific for initiating anything:  projects, ventures, relationships.  The caution (and there is always a caution) is finishing what Aries energy starts.  Bright, brash and brave?  You bet!  Considered, thoughtful or reflective?  Hardly.  Aries is essential energy to push forward, enter spring, into the true New Year as the ancient world understood and celebrated on the Spring Equinox. 
With the Sun (our will), Radical Uranus and Venus (love and money) all fired up in Aries, we may rush headlong into life.  Venus in particular is at a flash point degree of Aries and choices made now regarding relationships, purchases and investments need a greater degree of scrutiny than you may feel inclined to spend.  Meanwhile, Generous Jupiter exactly challenges Transformer Pluto during the first week of April, further inciting our inner flame thrower.   Mind your words and deeds now.
Enter Mercury and Mars in pragmatic Taurus.  Taurus wants to know what its Return On Investment (ROI) will be for any effort made.  Wants to know what it’s getting for its hard-earned dollar.  A good deal, sure.  A treasure to be admired, even better.  A relationship/partnership or venture to last a lifetime:  now you are talking.  These are questions of worth.  Value.  So in your rushing around, Messenger Mercury and Motivating Mars (how we think and act) in practical, earthy Taurus pushes us to stop and ask:  what’s in it for me?   Don’t be shy.  Step right up and find outwhat you are actually getting into here.  Really.  Are you getting the best value? Does he/she/this company/group truly understand your worth?   What is the long-term gain of this idea and product?   Inquiring minds (Taurus) want to know.  For certain.  Supporting this closer look are two super helpful angles:  the Lunar North Node in analytical Virgo to Messenger Mercury (how we think) and Mars to Pluto in Capricorn, matching our actions and desires.
The North Node is our directional compass, True North.  Paired with Mercury, it prompts:  forget the flashy packaging, how will this relationship, job offer, purchase, project serve you next month, next year, for the rest of its (and your) life span?  All the while Transformer Pluto and Motivating Mars pump up the power, the moxy, to get under the hood, buy the right products to plant and invest for maximum growth and establish firmest foundation.  We are, after all, in the season of planting.   And these four energies (North Node, Mercury, Mars and Pluto) do not mess around.  In earth signs, they are straight shooters in word and deed.
With this framework, April moves under way.  It wastes no time doing so.  That gear shift?  It starts now.  Sagittarius Saturn, Lord of Dharma and Karma, turns retrograde motion on Wednesday, April 5.  Unlike the inner planets, the effects of Saturn’s inward motion is more subtle.   Saturn is about lessons, making sure you understand the lesson at hand, now, what you are experiencing here today.  In educational Sagittarius, Saturn’s internal direction offers a review, one more chance to make sure you have learned and understood.  We are especially reminded now that earth is one big school.  Are you making the grade or giving less than your best effort?  If the latter, face the consequences.  Saturn is the Teacher via current events and Sagittarius is the Truth and the Law.   The Truth will set you Free.   But only if you are honest, do the work, tell the whole Truth. There are no shortcuts or escape hatches.   With Saturn retrograde, you have yet another opportunity to show you’ve mastered the material, learned the lesson.  This is a period of tests and examinations for us all Watch for yours.  You will know when it is Test Time.  Presenting itself to you might be:  an uncomfortable moral dilemma, a choice to speak up for someone who cannot do/speak for themselves, facing your fears, accepting an opportunity to expand your horizons/grow and evolve…or choose to stay small, safe, tucked away in what you already know.
What will you do?  Just remember:  grow or stagnate. 
The start of the following week Sunday April 9th, Messenger Mercury also turns retrograde.  This actually helps the internal review process aforementioned.   The next three weeks, until May 5th, is a time to review, reflect and renew.  Re-member all the RE words during Mercury retrograde.  Use the rest of April to Re-search any new products or proposed commitments to buy/invest in.  After May 5th, go for it. 
Mercury’s inward motion occurs just two days before the Full Moon in Libra on April 11th.  While we do have significant planetary earth and water energies to temper the planets fired up in Aries, this is a LOADED Full Moon.  Radical Uranus conjoins the Sun, acting like a match to gasoline opposite Libran Jupiter and the Moon (oversizing emotions/relationship/attachments) while Capricorn Pluto hovers in between triggering both pairs.  In other circumstances, Libra is about temperance, balance and detachment.  However the stress of these angles may prove way too much for some.  A gentle reminder in the raw, hyper-charged days leading up to the Full Moon (especially with Messenger Mercury switching gears):  listen, pause and think before replying.  Walk around the block to clear your head, exercise, write, release the volcanic energy you feel rather than taking it out on loved ones or co-workers.
You’ve got this.

On the following Saturday, April 15, we get a reprieve.  Venus turns direct motion, emerging as a Morning Star.  For those celebrating, this event arrives in time for Easter.  Venus moves forward in Pisces which she backed into the first part of April.  Surrender to the flow, the universal ebb and tide, with overflowing gratitude and grace.  Conjoined to the healer Chiron and making a lovely angle to Motivating Mars and Nurturing Ceres in Taurus, we are afforded ample opportunity to repair damage to our lives (whether self-inflicted or harmed by others), or to offer a wealth of healing, help and service those who need it.  This is exceptionally compassionate energy, April 14-18.  Love, love, love.  Plant what you seek to grow, let the light shine in and out, experience OM…your personal call to prayer and creation, be one with the Universe and Universal Mind.  This is truly the energy of redemption.  What do you seek to redeem?   It is just lovely for Easter celebrations and the conclusion of Passover week.
This energy stays with us for an entire week, through April 21st and we will need every bit of it as the largest cosmic gear shifts occur one right after the other.   Hold on to your gratitude and grace!  First up on April 20th, power house Pluto turns retrograde motion in Capricorn.  Still challenging Jupiter in Libra, watch for break downs in negotiations, discussions or matters you thought were resolved, stepping away from relationships and deals of all kinds.   The very same day, the Sun (our will) changes signs, moving into earthy Taurus, conjoined to Messenger Mercury.  Again, the alignment of our thoughts and will in such a practical and grounded sign, greatly neutralizes the powder keg that can be April. 
It certainly diffuses tension, and, beautifully aligned to the Lunar North Node in Virgo, fosters the Pluto retrograde desire to detach and review what is on our plates.  April 20-23 is truly a time for second thoughts, careful planning and preparation rather than a major thrust forward.  Ask:  what are you missing?  Have you been completely thorough in your work?  Have you asked enough, the right questions about a possible purchase, relationship, venture, project?  Helping you probe into all aspects of your horizons is Motivating Mars’ shift into curious Geminii.  The first of the air signs, Geminii is purely mental energy, versatile and flexible.  It is exceptionally good at information gathering. 
Challenging the Virgo North Node and Pisces South Node, you may feel pushed and pulled, not know if you are going or coming, or which way is up or out.  Use this energy to process all sides of the matter at hand.  What direction do you want to go?  Which avenue is the healthiest and most productive to pursue?  What do you want, need, to know?  Do you have enough or the right kind of information?  What is the data telling you?  This is very cerebral stuff, not emotional or touchy feely.  Best to detach and evaluate during the final ten days of April.  If you are trying to problem solve in any way, take occasional breaks to clear your head in a way you know works for you:  a woods walk, drive in the car, sleeping on it, listening to music, exercising, or talking it out with someone you trust who can lend understanding.
 It is amazing what comes of stepping out of the mental melee for an hour, day or two, to glean fresh insights.  We forget this in our modern instant messaging era.  Space and time are tremendous antidotes.  The caution with this Mars/Geminii-North Node/Virgo mental energy is getting way too wrapped around the axel, losing sleep over something, getting stressed out then boiling over emotionally and verbally.  With Messenger Mercury-Radical Uranus conjoined, this is very possible indeed.   So before you lose control, step back from the heat of the moment to maintain calm, peace and quiet.  You can accomplish a lot with this energy by applying intentional thoughts to action positively.   Refrain from sinking down into the mental rabbit hole of what ifs.  Stop.  Just stop.  Think of the best that can happen, all of the good, healthy scenarios…not the worst.
Did you know that being calm, the state of peace, is in fact the highest emotional state a human being can achieve?  Not joy, bliss, happiness, eureka… but calm.  Why?  Because from a place of tranquility, when our thoughts and mind are calm, we think more clearly and rationally… and can then make choices that best serve us.
Good to know as we celebrate the New Moon in Taurus on Wednesday, April 26.  In the Northern Hemisphere, we feel and see the signs of Spring.  Tis the Season for planting, increasingly spending time out of doors and in natural settings.  Make your New Moon wish list:  hand write about five desires you want to achieve in the next month, season or year.  Plant your wishes in the warming earth or cast them into a moving body of water.  Then step back like a mother sending her children off to school.  Let them go.  Let them grow.
Of Special Note:

I am offering my class “Creativity and Moon Cycles” on Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 pm at Newton South HS Library, Newton Massachusetts.   Think you are not creative? Or, experiencing a block in creativity?  Come learn how you connect to your creative engine, develop ideas and bring them into full bloom.   This class teaches what inspires you and how to effectively access your creative flow.   To register, please go to:  www.newtoncommunityed.orgor call 617.559.6999 and reference “Creativity and Moon Cycles”.  Course fee is $49 for three hour course.