May 2016: The Fixed and the Volatile

May 2016: The Fixed and the Volatile

The Territory

May divides itself into two very different and unequal parts.  The first portion, which will take us up until the 20th, contains a number of grounding and harmonizing configurations and positions.  It’s not that its all roses, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself picking, planting or sniffing a bloom or two.  Though there is some definite loveliness here, we’ll still have to contend with a retrograde Mercury running amuck in the garden, digging up buried oddities and hiding our fertilizer.  Even so, the first two-thirds of the month slow things down enough for us to regain some stability.

The second portion of May, however establishes a much more kinetic and volatile dynamic.  An incendiary Full Moon on the 21st and a Venus-Mars opposition a few days later whip up a flurry violent motion.  The focus on motion and mutability which this last third entails will take us well into June.

Part I:  Fixing the Volatile

The first portion of the month holds a variety of pleasing configurations.  While the following descriptions may seem like a virtual parade of pleasures, remember that they occur in the context of both Mercury and Mars’ retrogrades.   Mercury’s retrograde motion tends to snarl up lines of communication, trouble electronics and make travel more complicated than usual.  Meanwhile, Mars’ much longer retrograde means a higher incidence of unpleasant frictions, misdirected aggression and flying duderangs.  Together, they will inspire some spectacularly bad decisions.

Meanwhile, Venus is at home in Taurus until the 24th of the month.  This puts her in a powerful position, not only because she is in her rulership, but because both Mercury and the Sun are also present in the sign she rules (Taurus), which allows her to guide and empower their actions.  It as if they are staying at her house, and must ask her permission to go about business there. In addition to being in Taurus, Venus is also newly entered into an invisible and thus more introverted phase.  Our bright morning star since September, Venus has finally sunk beneath the rays of the Sun, and will be heading toward conjunction with Sol for all of May.  This phase of Venus’ cycle sees her blessings land in hidden places.  She conducts a quiet embrace and gives private riches.  Many of the jewels to be found during this part of her cycle are kept hidden, in the ornate box of the psyche or within the locked vault of the soul.

It Begins

May’s first week begins with good news.  The Sun in Taurus completes a trine with Jupiter in Virgo on the 2nd, which lends the month’s initial days a positive and solution-focused orientation.  This first week’s pleasing backdrop leads directly to the New Moon in Taurus on Friday the 6th, which marks a point of re-stabilization after a all-too-dynamic April.  This syzygy slows the pace, providing enough time to catch our collective breath.

More good news is soon to follow, as Jupiter stations direct early on Monday the 9th.  This annual turn forward generally improves the planet’s output, and signals various processes of improvement and growth to begin their forward march. Jupiter’s direct station also radiates a can-do spirit throughout the first two weeks of the month, highlighting opportunities and solutions.  This phase, which will last until the big planet disappears behind the Sun’s beams in September, is particularly oriented to delivering rewards for opportunities seized and improvements made since the 4th quarter of 2015.  It is, in a sense, the outcome phase of Jupiter’s four part annual cycle.  If you’ve been a good little boy or girl, you can expect to find some goodies in your stocking.  If you haven’t, there’s still time to put some quality effort toward making the improvements and seizing the opportunities that Jupiter in Virgo reveals.

Jupiter’s direct station also happens to overlap with Venus in Taurus’ lovely sextile to Neptune in Pisces.  This passing aspect between the two planets does not augur any tremendous shifts, but instead offers a little ointment and a few pain killers to address the cuts and burns incurred over the preceding weeks.

The Interior Vault

The day after Jupiter’s station brings us to the heart of Mercury’s retrograde- the sneaky planet’s conjunction with the Sun in Taurus.  This moment places Mercury precisely between the Earth and the Sun. Metaphorically, this is Mercury reaching the bottom of the underworld.  It is here, in this quiet chamber, that all of the best secrets are kept.  Once you arrive, hold a moment of silence long enough to make out the whispers which echo off its walls— it may be exactly what you needed to hear.

Oh What A Lovely Day!

One of May’s most pleasing configurations, Venus in Taurus’ trine with Jupiter in Virgo, occurs on Tuesday the 10th.  This harmonious aspect between the two benefics in earth signs opens the doors to ease, and highlights all that is pleasing and worthy in manifest form.  Rewards and nice surprises are both likely to arrive while these two planets are within orb.  The 10th also happens to see the Moon in Cancer in happy relationship to both Venus and Jupiter, lending further testimony to the configuration’s positive significations.

Underworld Appraisal

After trining Jupiter on the 10th, Venus moves on to a conjunction with retrograde Mercury on the 13th.  The two inner planets conjoin invisibly, hidden beneath the Sun’s blinding rays.  In addition, dark, tiny Pluto makes a trine to the pair, lending their conversation a more penetrating depth than it might otherwise entail.  This conjunction of Mercury and Venus marks a crucial point in this month’s revaluation process.   It is Venus who can answer Mercury’s questions about value and the changes necessitated by such reprioritizations.  Though still invisible and more than a week away from direct motion, Mercury’s fact-finding mission draws significantly closer to completion with this conjunction with Venus.


After Mercury and Venus’ conjunction on the 13th, the planets do not make any exact aspects, but instead work out the consequences of the first two week’s stabilizations and revaluations.  The processes of inventorying and appraising which characterized the first potion of the month continue through this less eventful week, but as this arc comes to an end, another more volatile one readies itself.


Part II:  Volatilizing the Fixed


The rather dramatic second act of May begins on the 20th, with the Sun’s ingress into swift, unstable Gemini, which speeds up what has just begun to settle into place.  The Sun’s movement into Gemini whips up winds strong enough to snatch anything not nailed down.  Our star’s entrance into the sign will see an increase in speed, mutability and volatility for the duration of its stay in the Twin’s sign, which will take us up to the solstice on June 20th.

The Sun’s entrance into Gemini is followed immediately by a slew of other events.  On the 21st, the Moon reaches perfect fullness in Sagittarius while tightly conjunct retrograde Mars in Sagittarius.  The Sun’s opposition to Mars marks the exact mid-point of Mars’ retrograde cycle, and the peak of the red planet’s visibility.  Crimson Mars will rise every day as the Sun sets, night’s fierce red king.  The Full Moon sees the Moon and Mars rise together for a lunation is sure to set the skies aflame, as well as a variety of relationships. The sparks Mars has been throwing off find the right fuel, triggering a variety of combustions in the days surrounding the Full Moon.

The same day that the Sun, Moon and Mars polarize the skies, Mercury decides to station direct (May 21st), ending his weeks-long retrograde with a salvo of very clear messages.  Although the surrounding days are overheated, and the missives may not be all that polite, they will nonetheless be quite legible.

“We Need To Talk”

A few days later, on the 24th, Venus enters Gemini.  As the lady of the heavens exits Taurus she leaves her place of power behind, and must instead make do with what pleasures can be had in Gemini’s frenetic arcades.  The same day as her ingress into Gemini, Venus opposes retrograde Mars in Sagittarius.  Venus’  opposition with Mars will mark an important point in a wide variety of relationships, especially those of the romantic variety.  Temperatures are due to be raised, and dynamics adjusted.  Venus’ opposition to Mars repeats many of the elements of the Full Moon a few days previous, and will thus keep the fires lit by the Full Moon burning for a few more days.

Teeter and Totter

While the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mars line up across from each other, Jupiter and Saturn move to complete their final square.  The 90 degree angle between the two big planets has waxed and waned since the third quarter of 2015, and on May 25th they perfect the angle one final time.

The square between Jupiter and Saturn affects the week by placing aspirations and obstacles into direct contention with each other.  The good and the bad, the hoped-for and the dreaded, come into clear relationship here. If anything, their configuration provides an opportunity to reconcile and transcend the see-saw of faith and fear.  Look not to the strange children which rise and fall with each teeter and totter, but to the fulcrum between them, which moves not at all.

I Told You I’d Be Back

The last of late May’s game-changing planetary action is Mars’ retrograde move back into Scorpio on the 27th.  From bright, fast and exhausting Sagittarius to dark, brooding and powerful Scorpio, the red planet re-enters the sign in which he will reside until August 2nd.  This move signals a change in tone of Mars’ long retrograde, and will see the conflicts and processes which the cycle presides over enter a potent new phase.  For more on this second leg of Mars’ journey, refer to “Mars’ 2016 Retrograde: Blast Furnace.”

Next Time

So ends May.  Weeks of stabilization and evaluation give way to the volatility and rapid motion.  We’ll ride these zephyrs and whirlwinds into June.  There these storm-spirits will guide us through an exhilarating journey up, through and above dark, lightning-laced clouds and then precipitously down, into the magma-warmed depths of the dragon’s subterranean lair.

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Horoscopes are not a real chart reading by an experienced astrologer. They are fun and can be reasonably accurate, however. In addition to referring to your Sun sign, read from your Ascendant and Moon if you know them. If you don’t, find out! I’m a long time fan of the free chart generation software at
Aries: The Ram
Taurus: The Bull
Gemini: The Twins
Cancer: The Crab
Leo: The Lion
Virgo: The Virgin
Libra: The Scales
Scorpio: The Scorpion
Sagittarius: The Centaur
Capricorn: The Goat
Aquarius: The Waterbearer
Pisces: The Fish
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Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


  1. Jessica Cross 7 years ago

    Great reading. I’m so glad I found this! Thank you.

  2. Nanette Furman 7 years ago

    So far this May has been fabulous for me. Mind you Mercury is a mainstay for me, and this retro. has seemed to actually nurture me, and so has the Mars. More energy,more focus, more getting things done. Can’t really explain it, but on a personal level- so far grand.

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May 2016: The Fixed and the Volatile

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