Happy May! If you're in school right now, I'm sure you're feeling the effects of the semester on your energies. Knowing that summer is so close but you still have so much work to do before the semester is over... feeling the pressure of your GPA weighing on you... It's a lot. And if you're like me, you'll want to know what's going on in the cosmos to explain why the energy shifts you're feeling and then plan accordingly.
Energy isn't inherently good or bad. There's nothing fundamentally wrong or right with a planetary retrograde or a phase of the moon. While everything that happens in the cosmos affects us ("as above, so below"), it is up to us to use the universal energies in a way that we see to be productive. or necessary. You can choose to ignore the signs that the universe is giving you, try to remove yourself from its cyclic nature and say "it doesn't really affect me, it's just in my head." If you doubt your connection to the universal energies, I encourage you to take small notes on how you feel for a month. Write something every day, then at the end of the month, pull up a moon calendar and see what matches up. Chances are, you'll have felt an affinity towards ambition and new beginnings during the New Moon and release, celebration and reflection during the Full Moon.
I wanted to give you all a brief run down of what some cosmic events mean and how they affect our lives. I've found that it's empowering to keep track of what's happening above, so I can use those energies to my advantage here (below).
I'm going to highlight three important things that I like to keep track of. There are so many more kinds of cosmic events to research, but these are the three that I keep the best track of: retrogrades, moon phases, and moon transits. Again, there are many more events on the cosmic calendar that you can research to empower yourself, but these are the ones that I use.
Retrograde: A retrograde is a period of time, lasting as long as a few weeks to several months, when the planets appear to be orbiting "backwards" relative to the Earth and the sun. All planets, sans us, go into retrograde at some point and in turn affect us on Earth. A retrograde has the prefix "re" which can be interpreted as "doing over." In other words, retrogrades are periods when we are reflective of our morals, behaviors and relationships. It's a time to break cycles, change attitudes and accept the past in order to move forward. Each planet rules a different aspect of our life, Mercury being the most commonly known one because it goes into retrograde 3-4 times a year.
You'll want to keep track of the retrogrades because it not only explains why you or your peers might be acting strangely, but it helps to know what you have in your power to change that. For example, let's say Mercury goes into Rx (retrograde) and your friend stops being vocal about their issues. You're becoming increasingly frustrated because there is lack of communication and they are distancing because they don't know how to express themselves to you. Mercury rules communication, along with expression, technology, coordination, analysis, etc. So, now what? This Mercury Rx might be telling you to re-evaluate the way you're used to communicating. Maybe now is a good time to value silent understandings over verbal exchanges. Your friend might want to express themselves through art or physical intimacy instead of talking, and if you use the Mercury Rx energies in a productive way, you should be able to accept this shift in communication. The cycle is now broken and as Mercury leaves its retrograde, you'll have new skills to communicate with people in a way that's more compassionate, understanding and flexible.
Here's a brief list of the planets, what they rule, and how their retrogrades will affect you:
- Mercury: communication, expression, coordination, planning. Expect delays, confusion, miscommunication and misunderstandings from people, technology, and even yourself.
- Venus: relationships, love (self love and love for others/things), and finances. Expect some changes in your spending/income, clarity about what you want in a relationship (or confusion over what you're not getting), and a new perspective for viewing yourself.
- Mars: Anger, aggression, war. Expect heightened stress and possible illness resulting from it, short tempers, impatience.
- Jupiter: societal reflection, morals, universality, connection to the human experience. Expect holistic re-evaluations of morals from yourself or others, seeking commonalities over differences, and an increased sense of compassion and togetherness.
- Saturn: karma, structure, long term projects, authority. Expect some delays or extensions, a shift in structure (be it in your personal, work, or social life), and possibly changes in authority/who's in charge.
- Uranus: internal change and behavior, freedom, radical change, chaos. Expect the unexpected and realizations of our errors.
- Neptune: Perspective, fantasy vs. reality, spirituality, hidden perceptions, past lives. Expect a new sense of what is real, understanding the link between pain and your past lives, self-sacrifice and spiritual development.
- Pluto: power and control. Expect to reflect on these power structures/manipulation, shed obsessive behaviors, embrace spiritual growth.
Moon Phases: We are all affected by the Moon. I'm not going to essentialize in a cisnormative way and say that "women are just more connected to the Moon," because I don't really believe that all ciswomen are inherently in tune with that. We're all affected by the cosmos because we're all microcosms of the universe; gender is not a determinant in that because gender is not innate. But anyways, moving away from my Women's Studies approach, I want to talk to you about the Moon.
The Moon rules emotion, the hidden, the "shadow realm" and our deepest desires. When the moon enters a different phase, there are different energies associated with it. As we get closer to a New Moon, energies will start to become focused on releasing, banishing and getting rid of. These are the waning phases, which essentially means "to get smaller." The Moon isn't literally getting smaller, but the illuminated surface of the Moon that we can see from Earth is. Conversely, when it gets closer to the Full Moon, those energies are ones associated with strength, attraction, gaining and healing because the moon is waxing. It's getting bigger from our perspective.
Even if you don't practice magic, it's still helpful to know which themes are associated with which moon phase. You can look up the current moon phase on lunaf, quickly read through the list below, and keep that information in the back of your mind. It may be nice to know that this particular day is a Waxing Crescent, which can be associated with luck and attraction, on a day that you're looking for a job.
The list below goes from waxing to waning (New to Full to New again).
- New Moon: Divination, soul searching, banishing, curses, new beginnings, deconstructive magic,
- Waxing Crescent: attraction, luck, friendship, constructive magic.
- First Quarter: strength, growing, balance, calming, motivation, creativity, divination.
- Waxing Gibbous: motivation, attraction, good health, success, positivity.
- Full Moon: clarity, love, healing, cleansing, protection, psychic awareness, prophecy/divination, charging.
- Waning Gibbous: undoings, bindings, cleansing, opening up, making amends, letting go.
- Last Quarter: breaking bad habits, relinquishing, banishing, curse braking.
- Waning Crescent: balance, illness, rest, justice, success, wisdom.
As above, so below; accept this connection between the Universe and yourself. These cycles will continue whether you like it or not, so the best way to approach it is to welcome the change, learn the lessons, and break cycles of repetitive and damaging behavior. We are one with these cycles and the best use of our energies is to transform them into something that is spiritually sustaining. If you feel overwhelmed by the cycles, keep in mind that you have the power to change what isn't working in your life by starting from the self. Start with the person in the mirror; not just your physical self, but the soul that resides in your body. You have all that you need within you!