If nothing else, this April reminds us that the only constant in life is change.  Amidst all the upheaval, or at a minimum — lightning-fast paced living, please remember to take a breath.  As the month opens we may be suffering from what is known in astrology circles as an “eclipse hangover”.  Moving around, we try to collect ourselves and get our bearings.   With the immense amount of planetary activity bombarding us, we feel unsettled and that nothing is for certain right now (definitely not in the US elections!).   What we have always relied upon as givens in our lives, the tried and true, has been or is in the process of being radically altered or yanked out from under us.  And if you can put your mind around this:  the givens we always expect to support us are supposed to dissolve and be altered; otherwise, we would stay put, get too comfortable and not grow.
The great news is that helping us, the month unfolds with a fiery, can-do, trailblazing energy as well as earthy stability underpinning our dreams.  It is a potent mixture.   The fearless first combination involves Saturn and Uranus.   Taskmaster Saturn is cycling through Sagittarius, seeking adventure and new horizons.  Saturn aligns beautifully all month long with Change-maker Uranus in Warrior Aries.  Go for it, these two say.  Open to new possibilities and stretch yourself!  Meanwhile, the second planetary pairing beautifully ties Transformer Pluto in pragmatic Capricorn to Jupiter in hardworking Virgo, telling us to make a plan and build, baby build. 
Together, the effect of these four planets say:  If you build it, they will come. 
So…what is your dream?   What do you seek to build?
By the end of the first week, two key personal planets shift signs.   April 6thfinds Messenger Mercury (how we think and speak/communicate) moving into earthy Taurus lending practicality to our ideas and words.    On the very same day, Venus rolls into pioneering Aries.  The planet of love and money isn’t comfortable in this brave warrior sign.   Here, she is very impulsive and rash, not known to keep her emotions or wallet in check; so exercise caution with relationships and purchases.  Buying needless things and plunging headlong into relationships with a Devil-May-Care approach can cost you.  So will challenging others to a throw down, or smack down, as Aries Venus has been known to do, to, you know, prove themselves or prove a point, to be sure everyone knows they are right!  Not to mention maxing out your credit cards to take home that flashy red sports car.  Do you really need a car or do you just want to make a statement? 
The impulsivity of Aries Venus is notorious.  Think:  the runaway bride jilting her groom at the altar; the couple who elopes; the crazy-mad and completely reckless one night stand.  You get the idea.  The effect of Aries Venus is exacerbated by the New Moon on April 7th .  Both our emotions (the Moon) and will to act (the Sun) are ignited by the blazing energy of Aries, especially as it conjoins Radical Uranus.  You may feel as though you are standing on a rocket launch pad. That’s how fired you will be!
With four planets in Aries ready to hit the ground running, such fearless energy pushes us to launch any endeavor in a blaze of glory. Tightly bound to this energy, Uranus sparks sudden, out-of-the-blue movements, insights and discoveries.   With the Sun, Moon and Uranus in Aries making a gorgeous angle to Saturn in Sagittarius, do not be surprised if you have the energy of a three year old, the innovation of Edison and the determination of Caesar to set life in motion.  No joke!  That is how powerful this New Moon is.
The downside is there is significant look-before-you-leap cautionary note here.  Impulsiveness is an understatement.  So … take a breath.  Just stop and count to three.  Don’t worry that if you hesitate all will be lost.  Really?  Will sleeping on a decision for a night (or two) really cost you? 
The combustability leading into the New Moon and afterward is difficult to exaggerate since Transformer Pluto challenges all three:  the Moon, Sun and Uranus.  Plutonium is named after Pluto for a reason.  Think atomic energy.  Rubbing against our emotions and will (sun and moon) with Uranus as the match, Pluto has the power to level and reduce to rubble that which must no longer stand, what is standing in the way of our growth. Hence, as aforementioned, we have the feeling of the rug being pulled out from under us, or the givens we have relied on for years disappearing before our eyes, what we have been able to count on is just no longer there.
Along with fearless choices to act bravely, this atomic energy can prompt us to walk out of a poisonous partnership (romantic or business), cause accidents, violence, religious or philosophical warfare, etc.  April is a notoriously violent month for a reason:  Aries, the god of war, is leading the Sun’s charge.  This April is a poster-child for upheaval.  And while I do not like to predict the dreaded and dire, I would be remiss to neglect mention of darker possibilities.  Take heed.  Do what you can to protect yourself…pay your insurances, really listen to and follow your intuition.  Don’t allow anyone talk you into anything that does not feel right for you. 

The best antidote and helpmate during April is Messenger Mercury’s cycle through grounded and practical Taurus.  Much more cautious, plodding and methodical than Aries, our mind and thoughts are guided to look check the underside of any relationship, project or purchase (car or otherwise).  Taurus asks the hard questions, wants solid information, stats and data because it rules values.  What bang am I getting for my buck?  How are my skills and talents valued?  What is this job, relationship, project, appliance, worth?  How am I valued?  What am I worth?  Taurus Mercury is the original show me the money combination.
We work hard for our money, applying our talents and skills where they are most useful and appreciated, to fulfill and enrich us literally and figuratively.  Taurus Mercury says: all that Aries Venus bravery and bravado is fine, all that Aries Uranian innovation is fabulous, just as long as there are solid foundations underneath what you create.  In the great rush to act this April, take a breath and gently apply some Taurean brakes.  Then ask:  how will this person, project, collaboration, purchase, benefit me or others in the long-term?   
The following day, April 8th, the Moon joins Messenger Mercury in Taurus to bolster our realistic thoughts and center our emotions; when mind and feelings align pragmatically, we can accomplish anything!

By mid-month, both Motivating Mars and its higher extension, Transformer Pluto, slow down to a halt and reverse course turning retrograde motion on April 17th.  For the next two and half months, Mars travels backwards from Sagittarius into Scorpio until it moves forward again the very last day of June.  Pluto’s retrograde phase lasts much longer.  But the fact that both of these catalytic planets shift into reverse on the same day is truly significant.  Brace yourself.  You can practically hear the grinding of the gears.  Be gentle with yourself and others.  Practice patience.  And yes, take a breath.
Mars is the motivating planet.  By extension, as the Transformer and ruler of our desires, Pluto triggers our actions.  Both push us out of bed in the morning and propel us forward in life.  Without them, we’d be hard pressed to do just about anything.  They are the great initiators.  So as with any planet that has turned retrograde, the energy of Mars and Pluto now turns us inward toward ourselves, inviting us to review and reflect (in this case) our actions.  Of any planet in retrograde motion, Mars no doubt gives us the most difficulty because our activity is wired to move outwardly and externally.  We want to literally move on with our lives in every sense; especially in springtime when life is coming into full bloom. 
The effect of these inwardly facing planets depend on where they fall in your chart; but for all of us, Mars will retrace its steps in Sagittarius, then the latter part of Scorpio.  So first, we are called to reflect on the honesty of our intentions and actions.  Sagittarius is about spirituality, freedom, lessons we learn through living, education, the law and long journeys.  We will be called to answer for our actions and deeds where we have been less than honest with others and ourselves.  We are granted freedom in life but only by obeying common rules of civilization:  the law.  So anyone committing crimes or acting dishonestly (especially those in the name of religion, God or spirituality) will be held accountable.
When Mars backs into Scorpio, we are then asked to pay up:  pay back taxes owed, balance the karmic slate where or however it is uneven in our lives.  Consequences are nigh. This Spring is not the easiest time…yet another reason to stop and smell the flowers.  To pause in our ever-loving compulsion to get ahead.  Retrogrades are naturally built into the cycles of life on purpose.  Because think about it:  where would you be if you never stopped to reflect, muse or mull over something or someone before doing?  In the past, when you have leapt into a significant endeavor or relationship without sleeping on it first or listening to the valued opinions of others, how has that worked out for you?
This Spring, we have little choice but to hit the brakes.
Three days later on April 20th, the Sun joins Mercury in practical Taurus where our mind and thoughts are beautifully linked for a few days (April 19-21) with Generous Jupiter and Transformer Pluto all in down-to-earth signs.  This energy provides the grounded grid on which to establish plans, create healthy choices that serve as a sustaining base for our future:  what is built to last.
The energy is a lovely entrée to the Full Moon in Scorpio on the 22nd.   Where the practical Taurus Sun is still offering a realistic foundation for our lives (thank goodness) there are some contrarian forces at play now which are definitely heightened and magnified by the Full Moon.  The Scorpio Moon deeply and carefully examines every emotion.   Why am I feeling this way? you ask; meanwhile Aries Venus, now conjoined to Radical Uranus, absolutely cannot be bothered looking twice into the emotional whys and hows much less deeply at the underlying causes of relationships, conflict, etc.   Aries Venus-Uranus wants to get on with it already, whatever it is, most likely brand new, highly charged, fearlessly exciting, brazenly flagrant and perhaps recklessly undertaken relationships, work, projects.
Aries Venus-Uranus wants to love and spend money completely unchecked, unquestioned, unfettered, especially in its challenge to Capricorn Pluto.   The Scorpio Full Moon says:  not so fast.  With all the earthy planetary elements mitigating the Venus-Uranus haste, some will be saved from grand mistakes.  And themselves.  Not so for many others.  All full moons garner lavish attention.   This particular Full Moon has a severely radical quality to it (like its inception at the New Moon on April 7) that begs awareness.    Venus rules relationships and Uranus is the change agent.  Already we are witnessing the complete upheaval, if not the collapse, of the Republican party in the United States.  On the positive side, accidental meetings or reunions of karmically tied relations may occur, including those you have never met before in this lifetime.  Remember:  there is no such thing as coincidence.   Sudden awakenings in consciousness, realizations, breakthroughs (in every possible path…artistic, psychological, scientific), emotional a-ha moments will be the norm.
The flip side to this energy cautions us about accidents, sudden death, complete breakdowns in relationships including breaking off ties to family and friends.
SIGH.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Breathe…
In all of our rushing around, if we have not learned that haste makes waste, we surely will this April.  On the 28th, Messenger Mercury turns retrograde for the next three weeks until May 22nd, joining Mars and Pluto in its reflection of thoughts, words, deeds and desires.
Slow down, you move too fast.  You’ve got to make the morning last” reminds Simon and Garfunkel.  Time to conduct a full assessment of who, what and where we are in our lives.  Think of it as a whole and thorough spring cleaning.  This Spring, before planting hopes and dreams, take stock.  A full inventory of yourself.  You’ll be glad you did.

Of Special Note:

I am once again offering my class “Creativity, Moon Cycles and Self-Expression”.  The course will be offered on two nights, Tuesday, April 26th and May 3rd at the Newton South High School, Newton, MA from 7-8:30 PM.  To register, please go to the Newton Community Education website: www2.newtoncommunityed.org.  The class is listed under Body, Mind, Soul.  Cost of the session is $45 for both nights.  I look forward to seeing you there!