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We're in the dark of the moon's balsamic phase, the days before the Taurus
new moon inaugurates a new lunar cycle. What began at the Aries new moon/solar
eclipse with the old pope's funeral and reached a climax at the full-moon eclipse
and the new pope's installation is, for our purposes, over and done with. Early
Sunday morning, it's on to the new, the sensuous, the Mother Earthy concerns
of Taurus. But first a short bout with depressing reality as Mercury and Saturn
square Friday night. Comics tend to thrive on that satiric vibe, but dreamers,
dancers and druggies prefer to entertain us during the escapist sun-Neptune
square Saturday night. On Monday, Venus exits levelheaded Taurus for the giddy
heights of Gemini; next Thursday, Mercury leaves Aries, where it's been meandering
since March 4. Finally.

Aries

Call it the return of common sense, but when Mercury, still in your sign, comes
up against stringent Saturn this weekend, highfalutin notions of “Do unto
others” may fly out the window. Instead, you're likely to deal with a down,
if not altogether dirty, domestic matter, straight-on. And since Sunday's new
moon in your Taurus house of assets is not eclipsed, it's safe to expect there'll
be no diminishing returns on a financial matter you launch or the purchases
you make during this lunar cycle. Before Mercury leaves Aries on the 12th, say
what's on your mind.

Taurus

This year the value-conscious Taurus new moon might not bring you completely
back down to Earth or, as it has in the past, give you reasons to relish the
basic pleasure of being alive. That's because illusory Neptune is distorting
the picture this lunation usually presents. Under the circumstances, there are
two ways to go: Try your damnedest to stay centered in the here and now or let
your imagination wander hither and yon. Either way you could come up with something
special, e.g., a product everyone wants to buy into, a storyline everyone will
swallow.

Gemini

Dues must be paid, responsibilities shouldered. That's the message resolute
Saturn sends your Mercury ruler on Friday. Since Mercury is advancing at a pretty
pace, the lesson you're supposed to learn this weekend should be over by Sunday.
That's when you could connect with a person from your past and tap into the
high points of that relationship. The Mother's Day new-moon vibe may have a
karmic ring, give you the feeling that the more things change, the more they
seem the same. Affectionate Venus enters Gemini Monday; Mercury reaches sensuous
Taurus Thursday. Joy.

Cancer

Moon Children born in mid-July might feel overburdened while Saturn sits on
their natal sun. So much responsibility can be daunting, but since you speak
with authority, you should have recourse. Make the most of the traditional perks
Saturn bestows, as well as the boost in status, because in two short months
the taskmaster leaves Cancer and won't be back for 30 years. The Taurus new
moon on Mother's Day introduces a valid reason to commit to a group project,
not unlike a Fellowship-of-the-Ring kind of thing. Except that this group is
into modern-day pleasures instead of Middle-earthy pursuits.

Leo

Another round of career accomplishments begins with the new moon in your Taurus
midheaven. When your sun ruler and the moon (exalted in the sign of the Bull)
meet, individual ego awareness merges with family or clan consciousness. It
may take a full year to bring the thought that inspires you this week to fruition,
but despite the challenges, rest assured the project will ultimately gratify
your senses and leave you feeling more secure. Don't discount a partner's contribution
even if, for the time being, it seems way off the mark.

Virgo

The Taurus new moon points you to faraway places and the traditional pleasures
they offer. Although reading about native practices and poring over pictures
of exotic locations can satisfy one aspect of your inquiring mind, ain't nothing
like the real thing, baby. For Virgins in academic fields, the consistency and
excellent work ethic associated with this lunation could mark the beginning
of a scholarly research project, one that'll satisfy on many levels. Meanwhile,
a volatile partnership matter is getting ready to erupt.

Libra

The persuasive power of sex and other people's money, perhaps a bit of occult
lore as well, should become evident during the lunar cycle that begins on Mother's
Day. There's no rationalization for a Libra going it alone when the planets
are focused on sharing resources for creative fun and financial profit. Although
you may hold a debate with yourself after your Venus ruler enters dualistic
Gemini on the 9th, weighing which partner, whose assets, can best serve your
goal, the questioning period won't last long. Maybe another week.

Scorpio

Something about a significant other usually becomes much more significant whenever
the sun and moon get together in your Taurus marriage house. Their annual conjunction
has the power to invigorate a close relationship, be it for good or for ill,
but this year, that call is far from clear. Because nebulous Neptune is clouding
the picture, it appears that someone in the family may become more of a toxic
influence, drinking or drugging to excess. Perhaps the problem will manifest
as nothing more than a water leak at the house. Either way, attack it head-on.
Get help.

Sagittarius

The word you've been waiting for finally comes across this weekend while Mercury
in your Aries house of risky behavior is favored by regenerative Pluto in your
sign. That information could dispel any fears Mercury may have attracted earlier
in the week when it was subjected to Saturn's doom-and-gloominess. Another positive
sign: the Taurus new moon in your house of health, work and service reviving
an interest in whole foods, aromatherapy and massage. This would be the appropriate
time to get more involved in charity work.

Capricorn

Who is imposing a gag rule at your house? While Mercury and your Saturn ruler
are in a strained relationship, freedom of speech could be a major issue. Whether
you discuss it or ignore it, that elephant will dominate the room until Mother's
Day. And then, thanks to the Taurus new moon, it'll magically disappear, perhaps
to be replaced by a new romantic interest, perhaps by your enthusiasm for whatever
else pleases your eye. During this new lunar cycle, it's love and leisure-time
activities, creativity and children that'll command your attention. Enjoy.

Aquarius

You can probably feel it coming on, that rare period when everything seems
to be going your way. It should start soon after affectionate Venus enters Gemini
on Monday and gives weight to the one air sign that is not yet occupied. While
in the sign of the Twins, the goddess will be sending hugs and kisses to Aquarius
and Libra, preparing those natives for the unadulterated love and good luck
due to arrive over the next two weeks. So clear your desk, make room for the
benefits and blessings the gods are about to bestow.

Pisces

Cozy up to a neighbor, sibling or school pal while the Taurus new moon on Mother's
Day focuses on your dealings with people and places close by. It's the ideal
time to plant a community garden, participate in a street fair or get in touch
with the reunion committee. Anything to relieve the excitement – some call it
unbearable tension – building as impulsive Mars approaches its collision with
unpredictable Uranus, the mover and shaker that is bringing novelty and uncertainty
into your life while it transits your sign. The due date: May 15.