Last month featured a solar eclipse, which, unfortunately, we could not see. May, however, offers a unique opportunity to see a similar phenomenon, called an occultation. The literal definition of occult is to hide or conceal. In astronomy, an occultation is when one celestial body blocks the light of another. On May 17, the waning crescent moon will pass in front of Jupiter, obscuring the planet from our sight. The moon’s occultation of Jupiter will begin at 4:37 a.m., merely two minutes after the onset of the moonrise. Jupiter reappears in the sky at 5:21 a.m., just 20 minutes before sunrise. As we sit on the edge of the viewing window, the pair will appear low on the eastern horizon. Jupiter will likely already be hidden from view when it rises over our horizon, and the light of the rising sun will likely create interference when it reappears. Still, as the moon and Jupiter are the second and fourth brightest objects in the sky, it is worth getting up early to observe this unique event. Take some time in the morning prior to May 17 to familiarize yourself with Jupiter’s position in the sky. The planet shines brightly against the backdrop of the V-shaped Pisces constellation, rising shortly before the sun each morning in mid-May.
While we move out of eclipse season at the start of May, Mercury remains in retrograde motion. The “trickster” planet originally stationed retrograde on April 21, and stations direct on May 14. As it is traversing an Earth sign, this particular Mercury retrograde can feel especially slow and plodding, but minding our steps is the best way to avoid pitfalls along the way. Slow and steady wins the race as they say! In the sign of Taurus, it is especially wise to watch our wallets, as finances are a factor in the Venus-ruled sign. Following Mercury’s lead, Pluto began its retrograde period on May 1, hovering over the critical zero degree of Aquarius. At the end of the month, it forms an opposition with Mars in Leo, with both creating a T-square to Jupiter in Taurus, all at a zero-degree point. This combination suggests something big (Jupiter), transformative (Pluto), and conflicting (Mars). At this time, it’s best to remember that growth is often uncomfortable and frustrating, but ultimately a necessary and beneficial process. With the sun in harmonious aspect to Pluto and Mars, it is better that we take the lead and act as agents on our own behalf, rather than be dragged along by life’s circumstances.
~ Dawn Andreoni is a yoga teacher and astrologer. You can find out more about her offerings at celestialdawnastrology.com or follow her at facebook.com/astronotions.