Thursday, May 23, 2024

What solar eclipse and Mercury retrograde mean for April zodiac signs — buckle up!

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Welcome to the hot pants and hellfire season of the ram, folks.

Aries energy is about as subtle as a flaming codpiece, and I’ll give it to you straight: April is a doozy.

The month begins with trickster planet Mercury going retrograde in the sign of Aries on April 1, ensuring our powers of communion will be compromised and our fuses cut short.

While communication (and its ugly cousin, miscommunication) is always at the forefront during a retrograde, the re-prefix encourages us to revisit and revise, take stock rather than action — a difficult directive when impatient, impulsive, Mars-ruled Aries is driving the muscle car.

On Thursday, April 4, Venus, the planet of attraction and aesthetics, moves into Aries, greatly increasing the chances of falling in love/lust at the gas pump and getting a bad, bold haircut.

The total solar eclipse on April 8 brings unexpected opportunities. Peter Jurik – stock.adobe.com

On April 8, the new moon in Aries brings us into the dimmed light of a total solar eclipse. Eclipses are not known for their delicacy — they’re more a point of no return than a gentle nudge.

Yet eclipses and their aftermath are supposed to be jarring: we are meant to wake up.

Lunar eclipses can translate to sudden and severe endings, but solar eclipses, while no less powerful, can clear the way for sudden breakthroughs and out-of-the-blue opportunities.

We’ll take it. Can dig.

On April 19, the sun enters the gluttonous flower fields of Taurus, giving us all a good dose of grounding. A few days later on April 23, a full moon in Scorpio comes correct with the claws, clearing out any residual rot that is keeping us from total spring renewal.

On the 25th, Mercury goes direct in Aries, though we’ll be under the shadow of the retrograde and in the wake of the eclipse for a few more weeks.

April is shaping up to shake us down and set us free.

Remember, folks, you can only be brave when you are utterly afraid. May the month ahead be a baptism by fire in which you realize you’re more resilient than you thought possible and more capable of personal revolution than ever before.

This month’s horoscopes are just ahead, so make sure to read for your sun and rising signs.

Read on — rage on.

Happy return of the sun to my favorite band of emotional arsonists!

Aries season and this retrograde are throwing heat flares up in your first house of the self, heralding a prime time for you to dispense with who you were and step forward into who you will be.

In the words of notable author and illustrious alcoholic F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.” With a solar eclipse in your sign heralding the new and unknown, I hope you’ll throw all of your prodigious power into a brand new beginning.

Prime yourself to receive my loosening your grip. Gajus – stock.adobe.com

You can think of this month and this retrograde as a kind of last gasp of gestation before Taurus season arrives on the 19th.

The sun and Mercury are activating/agitating and illuminating your 12th house of hidden enemies, old ghosts and self-sabotage. You hold hard to outdated ideas and old hurts, but in loosening your grip you leave your hands open to receive something different.

Given that Mercury is the planet that holds the thread between mind and meaning, now is the hour to cease the scripture of your own destruction.

Remember, my bull babies, in the words of a nurse who recently tended to me: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”

Everything to know about the 2024 solar eclipse

  • The solar eclipse will take place Monday, April 8, blocking the sun for over 180 million people in its path.
  • The eclipse will expand from Mexico’s Pacific Coast across North America, hitting 15 US states and pulling itself all the way to the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
  • New Yorkers will experience the solar eclipse just after 2 p.m. Monday.
  • A huge explosion on the sun, known as a coronal mass ejection, is anticipated, according to experts. This happens when massive particles from the sun are hurled out into space, explains Ryan French of the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colorado.
  • To avoid serious injury to the eyes, it is necessary to view the event through proper eyewear like eclipse glasses, or a handheld solar viewer, during the partial eclipse phase before and after totality.
  • The next total solar eclipse will take place on Aug. 12, 2026, and totality will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Spain, Russia and a small slice of Portugal. 

Hello and welcome to the fresh hell of a new beginning, my dynamic, duplicitous Gemini brethren.

This retrograde and the month ahead are asking you to revisit the role of friendship in your life. Whom you keep company with and seek the counsel of has a direct bearing on the way your life constructs itself.

To whom have you pandered in the past? Who exhausts you — and who uplifts you? Who challenges you, and who cosigns your bulls–t? I encourage you to look at all of your connections with the discerning eye of an investment banker.

Be ruthless about those to whom you turn and away from, and real about the richness of relationships. Be with those that make you better.

Give April all the main character energy your crab heart can muster. BillionPhotos.com – stock.adobe.com

Your life and, in particular, the work you do are in the crosshairs of this infernal retrograde cycle.

Nostalgic as a Hallmark commercial — or a butterscotch candy crushed in the grime of an old woman’s purse — you Cancers cling hard to the past and its patterns, but now, if you allow it, a new path is possible.

The word fear comes from Old Saxon faron “to lie in wait.” I hope in the weeks ahead you will come to see that the only thing you have to fear is that very waiting — and your inability to follow through or strike out anew. 

All eyes and a thousand torches are upon your ninth house of expansion, Leo.

The ninth house is often thought of as the realm of travel and broadened horizons, but it’s also the house of philosophy. Under these skies, perhaps the time is nigh for you to pledge yourself to a different set of ethos.

As a fixed sign you can hyper-fixate, losing the forest through the trees and sacrificing what matters for what is a material gain and those who challenge you for those who excuse you. It’s high time to put a humble heart and open arms on your metaphorical coat of arms. 

Understanding something is not a prerequisite to reveling in it, Virgo. Photocreo Bednarek – stock.adobe

A Virgo near and dear to me recently sent me footage of a Catholic Easter procession in Portugal. The video showed full gilded pageantry and a gentle flood of people floating on cobblestones trailed by an effigy of a skeletal Jesus Christ wearing bunny ears.

It is precisely that balance of reverent absurdity and silly solemnity that I hope you will adopt during these trying times.

Remember that understanding something is not a prerequisite to reveling in it. Bring levity to all ceremonies and permit yourself to see the comedy in your own history.

For a portrait series, Iranian artist Shirin Neshat asked those who sat for her to describe in detail the last dream they experienced. She transcribed the information into her native Farsi and spread the words over the images she collected while her subjects were recollecting.

As this retrograde and this eclipse season highlight your seventh house of partnerships and contracts, Libra, I encourage you to find common ground in the seldom-tread landscape of someone else’s dreams — where expectations, biases, doubts and disappointment are overthrown in the interest of wild imagination, where stories are void of structure but amplified with meaning.

“You can’t disassociate in the sea. Not without risking your life,” says Jenna Wortham. maxoidos – stock.adobe.com

Fellow Scorpio and journalist Jenna Wortham, in an essay for the New York Times Magazine, writes about disappearing, disconnecting her mind from her body when shame or discomfort arises. She also notes the impossibility of maintaining that severance while swimming.

As Wortham writes: “You can’t disassociate in the sea. Not without risking your life.”

As this retrograde and eclipse cycle activate your sixth house of habits, Scorpio, I challenge you to move through the world with startling engagement and absolute attention, as if your life depended on it. 

This retrograde and Aries season at-large illuminates/incinerates your fifth house of creativity, pleasure and play, Sagittarius.

All this hot-to-trot cardinal fire is asking you to consider how you define fun and where and how you find wonder.

Writer, biologist, conservationist and Sag moon Rachel Carson espouses, “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

As the fifth house is the domain of the inner child and retrogrades are a time of return, I encourage you to apply the lens of childhood to all that you engage with.

As you enter the maze of memory, make sure you have a way to find your way back. Stefan Michalski – stock.adobe.com

In the myth of the Minotaur and his maze, the princess Ariadne gives her lover Theseus a spool of red thread to lead him out of the labyrinth when he has completed the dark heroics of killing the monster.

I wonder, Capricorn, as this season has you retracing the steps of your own ancestry — the long walk home to the past — what you will use to draw you back and lead you forward.

May you slay your own monsters and return whole and to the here and now.

Aries season, complete with an eclipse and a retrograde, throws shine and shade on your third house of communication, short trips, currency and exchange, Aquarius.

Are you holding onto the belief that it is better to suffer in silence and minimize your experiences of pain than to risk expressing yourself?

A recent study found that repressing emotional responses not only compromises heart health but increases the risk of developing dementia and severe memory loss. May I humbly suggest, for the sake of your future self, that you allow yourself an outlet?

Scream it, speak it, write it or sing it, but be loud without shame and clear without concessions.

Pie in the sky, fist of balloons, it is full send, full optimism for you, Pisces. JenkoAtaman – stock.adobe.com

All the Aries energy afoot and aflame is throwing light on your second house of wealth and worth, Pisces.

Now is the hour for housekeeping your self-concept and revising the script of what you want and what you think you deserve. Prone to flights of fancy, fish folk are usually advised to come down off their cloud and discern what can be dreamed from what can be done. But under these stars, you’re encouraged to believe the best is yet to be and plan accordingly.

As poet Suzy Kaseem tells us, “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Astrologer Reda Wigle researches and irreverently reports back on planetary configurations and their effect on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture, and personal experience. She is also an accomplished writer who has profiled a variety of artists and performers, as well as extensively chronicled her experiences while traveling. Among the many intriguing topics she has tackled are cemetery etiquette, her love for dive bars, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girl’s guide” to strip clubs, and the “weirdest” foods available abroad.

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