NorthPoint Astrology Journal
Your weekly guide to planetary influences
May 18 to 24, 2020
by Pam Younghans
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THE NIGHT SKIES are at their darkest during the week of a New Moon. In astrology, the days leading up to the lunation, when the Moon is in its waning crescent phase, are called the balsamic phase. This week, the balsamic phase begins at about 8:15 a.m. PDT on Monday, May 18, and completes with the New Moon at 10:38 a.m. PDT on Friday, May 22.
The Balsamic Moon is a time of incubation, of release and completion. Our physical energy is lower during these days and rest is essential; but at the same time, our instincts and intuition are heightened. Since we are more open psychically during this phase, it is an ideal time to meditate, to pay attention to our dreams, and to be more energetically aware. As we allow ourselves to rest and also to go within, we replenish our physical bodies and our spirits, rebuilding our energy on all levels in preparation for the next lunar cycle.
This final phase of the Moon is not a time for beginnings. Instead, it is a time for clearing away emotional and psychological debris that has accumulated during the lunar cycle that is now ending. This allows us to enter the new Moon cycle – and to start new endeavors – with a cleaner energy field and clearer intentions.
MERCURY AND VENUS also call us to spend time in reflection this week, with both planets in hard aspect to introspective Neptune. Neptune is naturally sensitive and receptive, and also enhances our imagination, idealism, and spiritual vision.
It is no surprise, then, that Neptune in hard aspect to other planets can make it harder to focus on practical realities. With Neptune square Mercury (exact on Wednesday), we can have difficulty discerning fact from fiction, and it can be hard to keep our minds focused. We may get intuitive hits, but it is advised that we wait before implementing any new ideas, since it can be easy to miss important details.
And, with Neptune square Venus (exact on Friday), compassion and caring are increased, but we may also be more easily drawn into unhealthy rescuer/martyr roles. While it is always laudable to want to see only the best in others, under this influence, the rose coloring in our glasses can keep us from seeing an important truth about another person or a relationship, or a financial issue. 
THE SUN enters the sign of Gemini on Wednesday, activating themes of information access, communication, logic and reason, and social interaction for the next 31 days. This solar ingress sets the stage for Friday’s New Moon, which  occurs when the Sun and Moon align at  2°04′ Gemini.
This lunation marks the beginning of eclipse season, because the Full Moon in two weeks is a Lunar Eclipse. Any lunation linked to an eclipse cycle is considered to be especially significant.
(We have an extended eclipse season this year, with three eclipses on the schedule  – the Lunar Eclipse on June 5, a very potent Solstice Solar Eclipse on June 21, and a second Lunar Eclipse on July 4. More about these in upcoming Journals.)
AT THE TIME of the New Moon, the Sun and Moon are in harmonious trine aspect to Saturn, which should help us feel more stable emotionally. And, with Saturn in socially-conscious Aquarius, this aspect is very forward-looking, supporting the creation of new, more progressive forms.
However, the New Moon is also in hard square aspect to Mars and Ceres, indicating that it’s not all smooth sailing. We talked last week about Mars in Pisces, and how things can get complicated when this fiery planet travels through a water sign. Mars’ square to the New Moon is likely to bring out the less-elevated traits of Mars in Pisces: confusion about what direction to go, passive-aggressive behaviors, and a tendency to withdraw rather than face issues head-on.
And yet, with Mars conjunct Ceres, we are also strongly motivated by compassion, and a desire to alleviate the suffering of others. This is, of course, a very positive manifestation, so how might the square to the New Moon show up? It  could indicate a struggle between heart (Pisces) and mind (Gemini), with inner conflict and confusion causing us to feel frozen in place, unable to take concrete action.
EACH OF THE SIGNS has at least one planetary “ruler,” and the ruler of a New Moon usually plays an important role in the unfolding of the new lunar cycle. With our New Moon in Gemini, we can look to Mercury for some additional insights into the next four weeks (including the Lunar Eclipse/Full Moon on June 5).
At the time of the New Moon, Mercury and Venus are tightly conjunct, separated by just 46 arc minutes. As Venus is the planet of love and money, and Mercury is all about our thinking processes, we’re likely to be dwelling a lot on relationships and finances over the coming weeks. However, remember that Mercury and Venus are both square Neptune, so it’s important to check the facts and make sure any decisions are firmly grounded in reality.
And, remember that Venus is currently retrograde. This means that throughout our new lunar cycle, we will likely be revisiting relationship issues from the past, especially those that involve communication and truth-telling. We will also be expending mental energy reviewing our use of resources, both monetary and environmental.
FOR THOSE who are tracking important lunar aspects, here is this week’s watch list, in Pacific Daylight Time:
  • Moon in Aries square Pluto: Tuesday, May 19, 8:51 a.m.
  • Moon in Aries square Jupiter: Tuesday, May 19, 1:33 p.m. 
  • Moon in Taurus square Saturn: Tuesday, May 19, 10:58 p.m. 
  • Moon in Taurus conjunct Uranus: Wednesday, May 20, 11:07 a.m. 
IF YOUR BIRTHDAY IS THIS WEEK: The year ahead is a very active one, providing many opportunities and a few challenges. You have greater access to high-level spiritual support, as well as to your own insights and wisdom. As you make decisions based on the larger patterns of your life, and with a knowing of what you truly believe in, you come into a place of greater empowerment. The primary challenges involve overcoming inertia or feelings of being powerless or inadequate. To work with these, remember to use your self-care techniques, providing emotional support and reassurance to the part of you that is feeling fearful. (Solar Return Sun square Mars, square Ceres, trine Pallas Athene, trine Jupiter, trine Saturn, trine Pluto)
In Gratitude and Light,
Pam

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