Bill Jarosin Presents: Moon-Phase Astrology at Tree of Life

The Planting Moon
April 3 – May 2, 2011

The first full moon after the spring equinox is called the Planting Moon or, depending on the tradition involved, any number of other names: Pink Moon, Egg Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Seed Moon (which can refer to the previous moon), or Flower Moon (which can also refer to one of the next two moons)

This is the time of year in many northern climates when cool-season grains (such as wheat, barley and oats) are planted—when the earth has just started to warm up, still cool but not yet hot. Spring has sprung and everywhere the red sap rises, cheeks flush, and anticipation of romance floats on the air. Birds gather twigs and certain mammals dig into closets to pull out shirtsleeves and shorts. Lawnmowers roar; sneezing runs rampant in whole populations.

It’s time to consider three things: nourishing our roots, tending the seeds of fruit we intend to make blossom, and the nearest source for tissues. Time to work together towards shared goals, the future harvest, and love. The first steps of last month’s Worm Moon (the first tracks of creatures un-tunneling from a long winter) become tiptoe-through-the-tulips time. Not yet the skip-and-jump antics of next month’s Flower Moon, but the transitional coming-into-being of physical life, of re-animated limbs, of blood warmed to the surface of skin. It’s time for the planting of metaphoric seeds, which implies an interpenetration of life forces, a mingling of thoughts and desires, a mingling of selves. What is it that draws you out? What or who is that Other? Perhaps the face of the beloved. Follow.

Wherever one is on the globe, this is a time to examine the meaning of “two.” In Tarot, two’s represent an oppositional awareness arising outside of yourself, a projection of the inner onto another and working with and through the external world. You are no longer a hermit of winter nor (in southern latitudes) the free-for-all summer’s child, but something in-between. Not quite this or that yet, a bit of both becoming redefined. Even as you’ve set out upon the road you were asked to choose under the previous moon, allow yet for the lingering feeling of intermediacy; it signals love, either nascent or fulfilled. Love pulls you beyond your own skin; let yourself be taken by the hand (or heart) and guided along this not-known, but somehow trusted, path.

The Phases

As mentioned in the introduction, the four quarter phases are discussed here. They are 1. new (in the heart of the dark moon, though some argue that “new” should refer to the first sign of the crescent sliver), 2. first quarter, 3. full, 4. last quarter, and 5. the dark moon. The crescent phases are incorporated, where noteworthy, into the quarter information. (Complete information about the phases and this column as a whole is in the Introduction.)

Dates given below are for the “height” of each phase, based on angle to the sun. Exact times on the 24-hour clock are given for GMT (Greenwich Mean Time: London), EDT (Eastern Daylight Time: New York), and PDT (Pacific Daylight Time: Los Angeles). In practical terms, there is no precise delineation from one phase of the moon to the next. Expect about one day either side of the date for a “coming into” that phase and a “passing onto” the next. Allow two days either side for the full moon.

April 4
New Moon in Aries (14°)
14:32 GMT, 10:32 EDT, 07:32 PDT

New moons cannot be seen; they are “held inside” the sun—conjunct, in astrological jargon. From the Earth’s viewpoint, the sun and moon are aligned (though usually not precisely with the Earth; that would be a solar eclipse). The day before and for about a day afterwards here (April 3–5), a New Moon is more specifically called the Dark Moon, a time to retrench, rest, re-imagine, and get ready. This is not primarily physical, except as our spirit and emotions are carried in energetic patterns within the body. It is a time for introspection, a retrospective upon the previous cycle. Should you actually stop the day and withdraw? No. This phase is a time or remembrance, a time to include reflection in (and on) one’s daily activities.

With the new moon in Aries, expect a decidedly fiery, desirous undercurrent to what would normally be an advisably quiet time for R&R. Strong emotions here, but swimming in a sea of vague desires, made more incorporeal by Mercury in retrograde during this time. Mercury in retrograde means that this planet of mind and communication is traveling an apparently backward orbit, which implies that you may find it hard to comprehend, let alone communicate, what’s happening. But you feel hot to trot. So trot around the block, attend to daily chores; just don’t pounce yet, because the pouncee may not be aligned to your crush-ready bear hugs. (Remember, they too are contorting their face in anguish, hope, and hot flashes.)

April 11
First Quarter Moon in Cancer (21°)
12:05 GMT, 08:05 EDT, 05:05 PDT

The first quarter moon is about planning the bridge from inner to outer. Cancer is the crab in its shell, pulling in to protect sacred space and private thoughts. It’s time to pull your love within, to incorporate (literally, to live in the flesh) the lessons of love encountered outwardly, to fashion a heart-advised mode of responding. This is the art of relationship, the lesson of two’s, the underlying meaning of the Planting Moon. But that retrograde Mercury is still doing its thing, so best to communicate nonverbally, all the better for this time of nascent or reconsidered affections.

April 17/18
Full Moon in Libra (28°)
02:44 GMT Apr 18, 22:44 EDT Apr 17, 19:44 PDT Apr 17
(Sun enters Taurus on April 20 at 03:17 PDT.)

How appropriate that the height of this month’s moon, its fullest expression, should arrive in Libra, the sign of harmony among intimates. But that auspicious beginning is transformed quickly through the brooding Scorpio to the passionate but individualistic Sagittarius by the time the Sun enters Taurus on April 20. Whew! Expect a few days’ wild ride on the roller coaster of trying to adapt to, explore, and ride the tumult of inner desires seeking fulfillment. But all’s well that ends well, and the Taurean Sun brings us gently to earth in a bed of springtime flowers, where we’re happy to smell the honeysuckle and know that we are, after all, alive. Advice: be kind to yourself, enjoy the view from the top of the coaster, let someone know you love them.

April 24/25
Last Quarter Moon in Aquarius (5°)
02:47 GMT Apr 25, 22:47 EDT Apr 24, 19:47 PDT Apr 24
(April 24: Easter)

Well, at least Mercury has come to rest, ready for it’s change of direction, which means once again to resume its forward orbital path on April 23. And we come to the celebration of Easter, symbol of self resurrected according to a new vision of spirit-in-world. That’s Aquarius, which springs forth as vision for a better tomorrow. But best to apply such energy to tasks already underway; the moon is past full and the time of new beginnings is over for this cycle. Refine or redirect resources to projects of heart lived well in the world. Act locally on the heart and hearth at hand, but think globally since the moon also transverses Pisces here; between this and the just-completed transit through Aquarius, you may be thinking to transform the inner and outer worlds as one. A noble vision; share it with others, especially over candlelight and wine.

April 30 – May 2
Dark Moon in Aries and Taurus
(May 1: Beltane. New Moon on May 2.)

Once again we arrive back at Aries. We’ve come full circle, just in time to celebrate Beltane, the night and day of maypoles and bonfires. No moon out now; its light shines within, to be reflected in the fire of another’s eyes. New love or old ove, we create or remake exploratory journeys, companionship maps, and handfasting (wedding) vows. Perhaps more than any other time of the year, it is a time for celebration; the seeds have been planted, nature’s fertility invoked, and our next love in sight and perhaps in hand. Summer waits, the linen spread of white bloosms cast upon meadows and ready for heart.