By Camille Liptak, Staff Writer

Spring has sprung and it’s time for your April forecast. The question I’m sure you’re asking is, wait — isn’t April already halfway through? Yes, it is. However, aside from a new moon and a retrograde Jupiter, nothing happened in the first two weeks of April. It is at this halfway point in the month that all the planetary action happens.

On the 17th, Mercury enters Aries, firing up our reasoning. Then, the full moon in Libra on the 19th brings a quick spell of beauty, justice, and idealism. The very next day, Venus enters Aries, then the Sun shifts into Taurus on the 21st. April’s pace slows with this planetary shift, but things get even more sluggish starting the 25th when Pluto turns retrograde. Then, as if April was jam-packed with change enough, on the 29th, Saturn turns retro.

Pluto and Saturn are two of astrology’s most heavy-hitting planets; they preside over transformations and life lessons (respectively). Currently transiting the sign of Capricorn, Pluto and Saturn are teaching all the signs a thing or two about self-control, discipline, and the economy of their efforts. That doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize I said these planets are turning retrograde (i.e.: they’re moving backwards). That is, they’re energies are reversing. Self-control and self-discipline aren’t going to be easily cultivated, and the economy of your efforts is going to plummet, rise, then plummet again.

Find your sign below to see how you can best navigate the rest of this rocky month. (You can thank me later.)


Feeling… short-tempered lately? You can blame the Moon for that; it’s waxing its way into Libra, and dragging with it every ounce of patience you possess (not that there’s a lot of patience in you anyway). It feels as though your significant other is purposely trying to tick you off. After the 19th, this partnership friction will subside significantly (but return shortly). Even on your worst day, you believe in the potential of tomorrow. Try to summon more of that zeal this month, will you? Once Mercury and Venus shift into your sign, it will be a lot easier for you to do so. The entrepreneur in you is ready to blast off on a rocket to the top. Just be sure you aim that rocket at a project and not a person. As passionate and pioneering as you are, you’re equally insensitive to the needs of others, and can be highly impatient with people who don’t work at your pace. (There’s that friction again.) During their retrograde transits, Saturn and Pluto unearth this shadowy impatience even more — especially in your dealings at the office. People will gnaw away your confidence, but remember: you don’t always have to bite back.


Hunker down, Taurus, April is shaky. Starting the 25th, retrograde Pluto leeches some color out of your aspirations. What once seemed inspiring, is now insipid, and you’re feeling lackadaisical about a particular publishing venture. Perhaps it needs to be revamped? Unfortunately, retrograde Saturn makes it that much harder to restructure. Still, these two retrogrades are prompting you to ask yourself those big picture questions; I’m talking ethics, higher goals, and ideologies: What do I believe? What do I really want to accomplish? Is it selfish to buy myself a birthday present? May is the month when your personal philosophies get tested, but in the last two weeks of April, you’ll find yourself pondering more and doing less to attract attention. On the 19th, your daily routine gets a harmonious boost, calming your seething stress levels. After that, you get to do what you do best: stage-manage. Behind-the-scenes talents are kicking into high gear as a semester-long project comes to a close. Solutions to several problems are hiding in plain sight. Just follow your heart, your intuition; it will lead you in the right direction. (Yes, that’s the chorus from Jewel’s 2003 song, “Intuition,” but it applies to your current situation.)


Have you been daydreaming this month? Has it been hard to concentrate? Good news: Mercury and Venus in Aries are reigniting your hopes and wishes, and clearing away some mental clutter. You’ll be making major headway in your aspirations, as an onrush of stimulating (and lucid) ideas provoke your need for action. On the 19th, the full moon illuminates your imagination, and enables you to beautify a creative project that has since lost its glow. There are a few hitches, though. Retrograde Saturn and Pluto aren’t going to let you play all Spring long. Remember what Benjamin Franklin said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, you’ve done your taxes (I hope), so now it’s time to croak — metaphorically, that is. More appropriately, now’s the time to turn over a new leaf.  Saturn and Pluto want you to discipline and transform your hidden talents.No more of this shallow surface stuff; being superficial is so passe. Dive deeper into your creative depths. Think. Feel. Journal. Repeat. You’re self-adaptive enough to navigate your way through this dark spell. Spiritual change will happen regardless, as it is, like death and taxes, a definite inevitability.


It’s that career time of the year, Cancer. Mercury and Venus have you thinking about your reputation and how to gain favor from those higher ups. While the full moon brings harmony to your home life on the 19th, you’re not truly happy until you are in charge. However, you tend to go with the flow, and wait for the opportune moment when you feel it’s right for you to snatch the lead, hold onto it with a pincer-like grip, and boldly proclaim: your time is up my time is now! (Yes, I’m quoting John Cena.) Well, now that April is here, you can finally strut your John Cena stuff, and take the lead. But — oh, what’s that? Retrograde Saturn and Pluto are eclipsing your efforts, bringing enemies out into the open, and disagreements to the fore. Someone’s shadow is showing… Don’t let it get too dark, though. Whether you see it or not, these two retrograde transits are trying to actually bring balance back into your partnerships.This is how karma works, Cancer; You must first relinquish control in order to obtain it. Sounds counterintuitive, I know. But I don’t write the rules, I just make fun of them.


Have you been getting the urge to reinvent yourself, to change the way you eat, and how you spend your time? Thank retrograde Saturn and Pluto for that. One rules discipline, the other rules transformation. Not for nothing, but you have a tendency to be ritualistic about your everyday routine as it is, bringing an all-or-nothing attitude to your daily duties. Mercury and Venus in Aries fuel this inner fire even more. You’re intensely considering ways to achieve your highest ambitions, and will be buoyant and inspired enough to make them happen — and fast. On the 19th, an opportunity in communications surfaces. But there’s a cloud looming. Starting the 25th, you have to get serious — really, really serious, and get organized. Take a good long look at the way you interact with those in your work environment. Your nasty little habit of self-interest can get in the way of your efficiency. I get it: you want recognition, and the only way you know how to get it is by demanding it. But self-willed recognition is overrated. It’s better to recognize the greatness of others. (Because they will, in turn, recognize you without you having to ask for it. Manipulation 101.)


Get some sleep, Virgo. You’re going to need your energy it Mercury and Venus in Aries spark a series of spirited conversations about the mysteries of life. You’re actively seeking out ways to become free of your material dependence, which is strange for you. As an earth sign, the material world is all that makes sense. Still, this is a low-grade psychological rebirth that will work wonders for you in the coming months. Though you don’t believe you possess much of an imagination (as you are hypercritical of such a thing), Pluto and Saturn are forcing you to reevaluate this claim. Push the self-criticism and doubt aside. Everyone is creative in some capacity, and you more than most, have what it takes to develop a strong set of creative skills. But your problem is, you don’t always believe in yourself. I’ll be honest, Saturn and Pluto aren’t helping this — at least, it seems that way. Structure and transformation are beneficial to the development of your creativity. But so too is ambition, confidence, and persistence. Stop limiting yourself, and boxing yourself in; details don’t have to dominate your reasoning, leaving you blind to the bigger picture.  


Wild, unbridled passions aren’t usually your thing, Libra, as you prefer the calm, charming, tactful approach. Mercury and Venus in Aries are changing that for awhile. You’re now consciously aware of those traits you long for and lack: independence, impulsiveness, and assertiveness. These are the traits of your adversaries. I know, you’re saying: I don’t have any adversaries. I’m the good guy/girl/person! But you do. We all do. And now is the time they are coming to the fore. Spousal conflicts may arise. If you’re not married, then partnership squabbles will ensue. If you’re single, then you’re going to be attracted to your polar opposite, the one who seems so carefree and independent. (Ah, a Libra can dream, right?) Pluto and Saturn want to transform and restructure your home situation. Take a look at your roots, how you were brought up. Do some backtracking. Meaningful conclusions can be reached once you’ve collected all the necessary pieces. Are you as accommodating as everyone believes? Or do you secretly resent being the middleman all the time? Even if you pretend not to have them, these resentments are boiling to the surface. Persevere, and cultivate some confidence. You will be rewarded.


Someone’s getting obsessed about their health and wellness routine. Do you feel inspired to hit the gym, start juicing, and get in shape? That’s because Mercury and Venus in Aries are hitting that part of your chart that rules self-improvement. Great! Use the fiery energy to get better and feel better. But watch your passions (envy, jealousy, possessiveness, etc.). Never one to fly off the handle (you prefer to seethe, plot, then sting), the volatile energy of Aries may cause your feelings to explode. On the 19th, you get to equalize your psyche (something you love to do), and evaluate your hidden self. Unlike the other 11 signs, shadows don’t frighten you. In fact, you embrace them. Pluto (your ruling planet) is in a compatible sign (Capricorn), and Saturn is along for the karmic ride. You’re feeling more ambitious about your personal expression, and there’s been a sly, somber change in your mental attitudes. You are obsessed with getting recognized, but there may be some talents you are taking for granted. Let the tough love of Saturn and Pluto work their magic. Do yourself a favor, and hone your self-control and organizational abilities. It’ll pay off in the long run.


Studies take a backseat to your social life. On the 19th, the Libra full moon makes you all the more popular. With Mercury and Venus in Aries, creativity is heightened, and you’re filling with an excitement that can’t be contained. But then on the 25th, Pluto starts his retrograde revolution, and four days later, Saturn joins his ranks. Both planets are moving slowly through that sector of your chart that rules money, value systems, and material resources. While you’re eagerly trying to live it up, your personal stock plummets. Suddenly, you’re not so sure of yourself anymore. What’s worse, greed, envy, and a sudden spell of unscrupulousness creep up at the most inopportune times. You want what others have, because you’re unsure of your talents and possessions. (Talk about a buzzkill.) But there’s a reason for these retrogrades. Saturn wants you to control your resources, discipline your spending habits, and restructure your value system. Pluto wants to transform the ways in which you use your resources. I know you value your freedom above all else, and consider yourself limitless, but come on, do you really think you can run from your shadow? (Who am I kidding, of course you do.)


The sudden onrush of Aries energy is firing up your inner pioneer — at home. You might find yourself working from home a lot more, or thinking of ways to improve the look and feel of your house. On the 19th, a positive expansion takes place at work. Whatever you’ve been working on since October last year reaches its apex. But you remain suspicious of any positive outcomes. Right now, Saturn and Pluto are both in your sign. Your darker side is creeping in, coloring your vision with suspicion, distrust, and unsympathetic shrewdness. You need not identify with these feelings or let them instigate any avarice. I get it, it’s in your nature to assess people, and test them to see if they measure up to your standards. But lately, less and less people have actually measured up to your standards. This is where retrograde Saturn and Pluto come in: they’re turning the tables on you, Cap. It’s your turn to be on trial. Look at the structures in your life: what’s working/isn’t working? What needs to go? Dial back the partisanship, stop arguing, and open your eyes. Have you really been adhering to the stringent standards you’ve set for others?


Guess whose hidden problems are now coming out of the dark? Of all the signs, you most of all like to repress emotions, and pretend to be unaffected by sentiments and fuzzy feelings. But guess what, you’re just like all the rest of us! Retrograde Saturn and Pluto are going to make this crystal clear. Uncomfortable truths that you have buried long ago are wriggling out of your carefully constructed mental blocks, and you are not into it. That’s the funny thing about outer planets Saturn and Pluto: they don’t care about what your comfort, they care about your growth. Before you start bandaging your mental fissures, consider this: perhaps Pluto and Saturn are testing you to see how psychologically fit (or unfit) you are? These retrograde transits can be good for you creatively, if — and this is the key, here — you stop analyzing every little thing for meaning that isn’t there. The 19th brings culmination to a publishing and/or spiritual endeavor. And Mercury and Venus in Aries light a fire in your desire to make deals. As you buzz about, networking, avoid getting seduced by gossip. Stick to being your lovably weird, and curious self.


Mercury in Aries has you thinking about what matters most to you. That’d be great if you knew what mattered most to you. Money is typically a dirty word in your Piscean dictionary, but Venus in Aries is leading you to spend more than you make. No skin off your fins; so long as you give generously to others, you’ll get it all back. Moving on. Retrograde Saturn and Pluto are aiming to restructure and rupture your hopes, wishes, and dreams. For astro-Fish, dreams are like water; you need them to survive. In order to breathe underwater (i.e.: in order for you to take in inspiration and ultimately realize your creative dreams), you need gills or a gill net (something to help you catch those dreams). That’s what these planetary transits want to give you: gills (or a gill net — whichever). Retrograde Saturn and Pluto are cleaning and gutting your aspirations so you don’t…well, aspirate under the choking weight of false hope. Unattainable aspirations are called pipe dreams for a reason, you know. Ride this wave of pragmatism prudently, and let Saturn restructure, and Pluto transform, or all that you’ve been idly hoping for may disappear down the drain.