Astrology Column

Belinda Dunn is a professional astrologer, trained at The Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, and has more than 35 years experience. See her bio and contact info at the end of this column.

What's UP May 2016

What's UP – May 2016
Belinda C. Dunn

Taurus New Moon
May 6 @ 3:29 pm
Gemini/Sagittarius Full Moon
May 21 @ 5:14 pm
Mercury Direct
May 22 @ 9:20 pm

Getting Into the Garden
Throughout the ages, poets, artists, musicians, and philosophers of every persuasion have aimed to capture and express the glorious beauty of springtime. As nature returns in full color, “heaven on earth” becomes a reality.

I am reminded of Joni Mitchell's poignant song “Woodstock, and the memorable lyrics, “We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

May begins with five of the eight major planets in a retrograde phase.
Beginning with Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, and continuing with Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto, this is a month for lying low, and getting as close to the earth as possible.

You may find solace in preparing your garden, or digging out the picnic basket for a lazy day of sitting by the river rather than pushing the river. A typical retrograde phase is best used for for reviewing plans, taking stock and integrating past experience.

Relaxed Embodiment
Not only are five planets retrograde, but the New Moon on May 6 is in Taurus, the zodiac sign known for its laid back, cautious, down to earth, no-nonsense approach to life. Considering the wild gamble and destabilizing energies of 2016, the planetary energies of May offer an earthy stabilizing influence along with an opportunity to settle and rejuvenate the nervous system.

Our fast-paced technology driven world tends to produce a level of stress that jangles nerves, contributing to many of the emotional problems prevalent in current society.

If this isn't enough of a planetary message to slow down and enjoy daily life more, let's consider that four significant planets join this New Moon in earth signs.

Western astrology considers the four elements of fire, air, water and earth as fundamental in the interpretation of any chart. This is one of the first things I consider when looking at an individual's chart as well as current trends.

Currently, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Pluto are all transiting in the earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Forming the rare configuration of a Grand Trine during the first half of May, these planets contribute to an overall sense of wellness.

When the earth element is predominant, as it is in May, this points to a fuller appreciation and enhancement of the sensory side of life. Earth is about embodiment and presence.

Grounded Forward Movement
Earth points us in the direction of reality, common sense, and the need for taking care of tangible matters such as money and possessions. If you have felt dreamy and out of touch with reality over recent months, this is time to reconnect with what is important to you in terms of daily activity.

The grounding and stabilizing influence of earth is essential these days, especially as 2016 continues to unfold.

Jupiter, a planet of gigantic proportions, is currently transiting through the zodiac sign of Virgo. This is not a glamorous combination, but adds to the need for taking care of details in the areas of health, finances, business and education.

Since January 7, Jupiter has been retrograde, but on May 9, Jupiter begins a direct phase that will continue for the remainder of 2016. This is good news that will give a boost of forward thrust and momentum to many projects that may have been delayed over winter months.

Jupiter is a significant player this entire spring. Jupiter is in close square to Saturn, a planetary alignment that is stressful and difficult to get a handle on, much less resolve. Jupiter tends to exaggerate, while Saturn tends to restrain with cynicism and negativity.

However, on May 26 Jupiter makes its final square to Saturn, and by mid-June there will be a more positive, realistic and rational perspective that can go along way in solving problems.

Rare Mercury Transit
In addition to Jupiter beginning a direct phase on May 9, a rare transit of Mercury is happening. The last time this occurred was 2006, and the next time is 2019. Eye protection will be necessary, but at 11:12 am, Mercury will visibly cross over the face of the Sun.

This is considered to be a very important part of the Mercury retrograde cycle, and introspection promises results. Conscious mind is literally joining with Source intelligence, and breakthroughs in consciousness can occur rapidly. Seeds of new understanding contribute to the ability to make clear decisions when thirteen days later Mercury goes direct.

By mid-month, energies shift noticeably. Within days, the Sun enters Gemini forming a Full Moon on the 21st, and Mercury goes direct on May 22. In terms of elemental balance, the mood goes from the stabilizing, methodical and careful planning of earthiness to the soaring, free and high-flying energies of air.

Air spells movement, and attention naturally turns to wrapping up another academic year, graduations, travel and vacation plans.

This significant Full Moon activates the on-going challenges of 2016, especially in the social domain. The Sun is in Gemini, the zodiac sign of data and communication, and the Moon is in Sagittarius, the zodiac sign of ideology. Under these influences the programmed intellect tends to be very stimulated, and words may fly out of people's mouths with little hesitation.

This Full Moon also aligns with Mars, so there may be an added urgency to speak, and take action based on impulse and opinion. Poorly thought out plans can wreak havoc with relationships.

Taking Time for Higher Truth
Even though this Full Moon gives illumined clarity that can be meaningful in the long run, this may not be the time to force understanding and change situations. Get all of the facts, examine your prejudices, ask yourself, “Is this action/decision based on truth?”

With the backdrop of all this assertive, restless, controversial and conflicting mental energy, Mercury goes direct on May 22. One can't help but think of the presidential campaign under these troubling planetary influences. May is potentially a “make it or break it” month for candidates and their respective political parties.

The pundits as well as the general public are scratching their heads with the bizarre turns this election season takes daily. The current political climate in the U.S. is puzzling, even alarming.

Considering that so many citizens are struggling with very real life circumstances, it is appalling and distressing to watch, what has been dubbed, the “circus.” At this point, the only people that appear to be benefiting from these events are the comedians and late night television show hosts.

OK, now that you have my political 2 cents, I will share the powerful and illuminating planetary trends in regard to this campaign.

Last November, Saturn squared Neptune. This rare and stressful alignment produces a clashing of belief, whereby it is difficult to discern the boundaries of reality and illusion, truth and aspiration.

When Saturn, the planet of reality, joins forces with Neptune, the planet of illusion, it is not easy to rise to higher ground.

This profound alignment is culminating on September 10, just in time to dispel the glamour, and hopefully elect a candidate that can get on with the business of leading a country that has real and pressing problems.

Expanded Awareness More Accessible
Neptune's influence is to dissolve the boundaries and veils of earthly consciousness, and expand awareness to transcendent universal consciousness. It takes us out of conditioned and programmed perspective.

It can feel disorienting and confusing, and be the primary influence in mental illness. In many cases, there is a fine line between disoriented states of consciousness and genuine spiritual awakening.

Jupiter and Saturn are considered to be the social planets. They take us beyond personal agendas into the larger context of social and cultural experience. The complex astrological picture for May includes the pressure of the social planets, Jupiter and Saturn, in stressful alignment with Neptune. Astrologers call this a T-square.

Social systems are held together by belief, and this three-pronged planetary T-square has profound implications in the fabric of society on national and global levels. It is breaking open illusions, clearing the way for more honesty and transparency.

Evolution of Consciousness Continues
The tide is turning in the sea of social organization based on belief. Whole groups of people are changing ideological mindsets, and things are not always what they appear to be. Perception is fluid, mutable, and shifting drastically.

The planetary influences in May present a fascinating blend of fact and fantasy, earthiness and transcendence. Life on this dimension is a hall of mirrors whereby the images are in a continual state of flux.

Ultimate truth is beyond the grasp of the intellect, yet civilized mankind spends a great deal of precious time thinking up ways to keep the fight going. What happens when the fight is dropped?

Each of us knows those instances when we pause in mid-sentence, and stop a habitual response in light of a more loving and kind approach.

New neural pathways are being built to evolve our brain and biology from a species that fights to survive to a species that chooses love to thrive. This is the real story. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, hearts are opening and blossoming everywhere. It is time to get back to the garden!

Belinda C. Dunn is a professional astrologer with over 35 years experience. She is available for your personal consultation. Email: Phone: 828-215-2101 Website: