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Special Days and Aspects for May 2004

May 2004







































Welcome to May! Click on a date in the calendar to see the current aspects and events for that day.

May 1, 2004

Retrograde Jupiter at 8 degrees Virgo sextile Saturn in Cancer
Jupiter in hard-working Virgo teams up with Saturn in domestic Cancer to create a harmonious balance between work and home. Business or financial activities that involve the home are especially likely to be successful now, so don’t hesitate to take out a remodeling loan or start a home-based business. Our practical judgment is sound, and this is a good time to bring about increased harmony and cooperation in any organization or enterprise in which we’re involved.

May Day: From fertility and flowers to productivity and politics, May Day has been used for it all. Those who celebrate it as the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane would call it a good night for bonfires — and for making love in the garden to bless the land. But watch out for the faeries and other supernatural folk, who roam at this time just as they do at Samhain/Halloween, the opposite point on the wheel of the year. In ancient Rome, the festival to welcome in the merry month of May was known as Floralia for the flowers. Traditional activities, still practiced around the world today, include gathering flowers, crowning a May Queen and dancing around a tree or Maypole. In Hawaii, it’s Lei Day. In icy Finland, at the end of a long winter, May Day is a raucous festival called Vappu, and all the businesses close down for the holiday. In the United Kingdom and much of Europe, the day is also Labor Day, and in communist countries, the workers’ holiday has been used as an opportunity to display military might. To counter that, the U.S. Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1947 declared the day Loyalty Day, a celebration of American patriotism. In a similar effort to promote democracy over communism, the American Bar Association had the day declared Law Day. In France, it’s Premier Mai, a day with political overtones but also with a tradition of wearing and wishing on lillies of the valley. In Catholicism, May is a month for honoring Mary the mother of Jesus, and May Day is a feast day in honor of her husband, St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters and builders. For more about May, and the spirit of young femininity honored during the month by cultures past and present, please see The Honored Maidens of the Merry Mary Month in this issue of Metamorphosis.

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May 2, 2004

Venus at 21 degrees Gemini opposes retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
A powerful desire to be close to and share our deepest feelings with someone is very intense now. This can be a beautiful thing, but take care that the emotional intensity doesn’t become obsessive. Jealousy and sexual tensions can arise, and emotional issues that have been brewing beneath the surface can flare up unexpectedly. We could find ourselves being demanding or acting compulsively toward others, especially those we’re closest to.

Eid-e-Milad: Also called Milad-ul-Nabi and Bara-Wafat. Solemn Muslim observance of the birthday and also the death anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam. The prophet was born in Mecca in about A.D. 570 on the 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal. According to Islamic belief, Muhammad, a shepherd and trader, began to have revelations from God at age 40 and went on to establish the religion that has unified most Arabs ever since. As the holiday also commemorates his death, the 12 days leading up to this day stand for the 12 days that the prophet was sick before he passed away.

Ridvan concludes: The 12-day festival of the Baha’i faith, which teaches the unity of all religions and all people, concludes with a holy day on which no work is done.

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May 3, 2004

Día de la Santa Cruz: On the Day of the Holy Cross in Mexico, carpenters, masons and other construction workers decorate crosses elaborately and place them at their work sites. Anyone constructing a new building throws a party for the workers. Miners also participate in the custom and the workers are toasted in celebration. In the Philippines, Santacruzan is celebrated with parades.

Japanese National Foundation Day and Constitution Memorial Day: This celebration dates to 660 B.C. and the crowning of Jimmu Tenno. Believed to be descended from the gods, he became Japan’s first human emperor. The May 3 holiday was abolished after World War II but has been revived as a celebration of the founding of a new Japan and adoption of a democratic constitution.

Tako-Age (Kite Flying Day): In Japanese cities, competitions are held. The object is to cut down other people’s kites with your own, with glass embedded in its tail.

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May 4, 2004

Moon Phase
Full Moon in Scorpio, 20:33 Universal Time.

Total Lunar Eclipse at 14 degrees Scorpio
The eclipse lasts about six hours, putting on a nighttime show in Asia and Europe, but it is over before night falls in North America. Astrologically, the eclipse indicates that hidden or unrealized desires or psychological complexes could interfere with our ability to enjoy the comforts of life. It’s a good time to step back and seek a broader perspective, and bring unresolved issues into the light where their power will dissipate.

Mercury at 21 degrees Aries trine retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
Conversations are deep and penetrating. We may find ourselves revealing very personal matters, and expecting the same of others. Superficial banter and chatty social talk are unsatisfying, and this emphasis on things deep or hidden is emphasized by today’s lunar eclipse in Pluto’s natural sign of Scorpio. This is an excellent time for meditating and exploring our own inner depths.

Buddha Purnima: Also known as Wesak and Visakha Puja, this is the holiest of Buddhist holy days and a public holiday in some countries. The holiday is always on a full moon in Buddhist countries that follow the Theravada form of Buddhism, including India and Singapore. In Japan and other Mahayana Buddhist countries, the holiday is observed April 8 instead. It celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death (attainment of Nirvana) of Lord Buddha. To read about his life, please see the article Gautam Siddharth: The Prince Who Would Be Buddha in the May 2003 issue of Metamorphosis.

Rhode Island Independence Day: On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island declared its independence from Great Britain two months before the rest of the American colonies did so.

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May 5, 2004

Sun at 15 degrees Taurus square Neptune in Aquarius
Clear vision becomes clouded by misunderstandings and poor communications, and we may tend to become confused or to space out and avoid responsibilities. A fuzzy idealism could cause errors in judgment. There’s a dreamy sensitivity in the air that makes it hard to focus on mundane tasks.

Cinco de Mayo: A national holiday in Mexico and also celebrated in many American communities with large Mexican-American populations, the day commemorates the Battle of Pueblo in 1862, when Mexican troops commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the invading French forces of Napoleon III against great odds. The Mexicans completed their triumph against the French on April 2, 1867.

Napoleon’s Day: Commemorates the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor of France from 1804-1815. The date is the anniversary of his death in 1821 at the age of 51.

Dutch Liberation Day: Celebrates the Netherlands’ liberation from Nazi occupation in 1945, five years after the country was invaded.

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May 6, 2004

National Day of Prayer (U.S.): A moveable holiday in May, the day of prayer was established in 1952 by the U.S. Congress, which asked people of every faith to gather and pray together for the country and for guidance for its leaders. In many cities, large gatherings are held in public parks or arenas, led by clergy of many religions.

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May 7, 2004

Mars enters Cancer
As the warrior planet enters domestic amd emotional Cancer we are moved to fight for people or causes to which we are emotionally attached, especially our families or extended families. Actions and decisions are more likely to be motivated by strong feelings rather than thoughts. Patriotic fervor can be aroused at this time, and the challenge is to recognize that it is all of life that needs protecting and defending.

Birthday of Rabindranath Tagore: A poet, philosopher, social reformer, playwright, musician and creator of dance dramas, Tagore was born in Calcutta, India, in 1861 and died in 1941. In 1913 he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. His birthday is celebrated in India with festivals featuring his work.

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May 8, 2004

Have a great day!

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May 9, 2004

Mothers Day: Celebrated in America on the second Sunday in May, Mothers Day grew out of the love that Anna M. Jarvis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, held for her mother. After five years of promoting the idea of a special day each year to honor mothers, Jarvis’ dream came true in 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mothers Day a national holiday. Get your mom some flowers.

Lag B’Omer: Beginning the previous sunset, this is the Jewish observation of the 33rd day in the traditional counting of the Omer, the seven-week period linking Passover and Shavout, the upcoming June holiday that celebrates the giving of the law to Moses.

Lemuralia: In ancient Rome, the first of three days (the others being May 11 and 15) to make ghosts go away. To work the magic, people walked barefoot, washed their hands three times and threw black beans behind them nine times.

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May 10, 2004

Mercury at 25 degrees Aries sextile Venus in Gemini
Conversation is flowing and easy, and social contacts are pleasant and harmonious. A spirit of compromise and cooperation underlies our interactions with others, we can understand where others are coming from, and feel understood ourselves. If there’s a difficult subject we’ve been putting off talking about with a friend or loved one, now is the time.

Golden Spike Anniversary: A celebration of the day in 1869 when work was completed on the first railroad to reach across the United States. The Southern Pacific Railroad built eastward from Sacramento, California, and the Union Pacific built westward from Omaha, Nebraska. The railroads were joined with four special spikes at Promontory Summit, Utah. Two of the spikes were made of gold, one of silver, and one of iron, clad in silver and topped with gold.

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May 11, 2004

Moon Phase
Last-quarter Moon in Aquarius, 11:04 Universal Time.

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May 12, 2004

Sun at 21 degrees Taurus quincunx Pluto in Sagittarius
Relationships or situations in which we have misused authority and control may come back to haunt us at this time. There may be nothing we can do to rectify the problems, but we can be aware and learn from them. Any strong reaction may only worsen the situation, but if we can avoid taking either the victim’s or the tyrant’s role we can keep it from spreading and perpetuating itself. There is a profound lesson to be learned if we can keep our center with detachment and compassion.

Birthday of Florence Nightingale: The day celebrates the life of the famous nurse and public health activist, who lived from 1820-1910. Nightingale made great changes in the way hospitals were run. The day also is celebrated as National Hospital Day in the United States.

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May 13, 2004

Our Lady of Fátima Day (first) : May 13, 1917, was the first day that a group of children in the village of Fátima, Portugal, reported seeing a vision near the top of a tree. The same thing happened on the 13th of every month until October 13 of the same year, when the Lady appeared before 70,000 onlookers and revealed herself to be the Virgin Mary. On May 13 and October 13 of each year, large groups of people travel to the shrine built at the place of the appearances.

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May 14, 2004

Sanja Matsuri: Kannon, the goddess of mercy, is honored by this Shinto festival in Tokyo, Japan. Also known as the Three Shrines Festival, it features a Friday through Sunday carnival and a huge parade with portable shrines through the streets of the city. The goddess it honors, known as Kuan Yin in Chinese, is revered in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and elsewhere. In Buddhism, she is known as the Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) of infinite compassion and mercy. She is sometimes portrayed as both female and male, able to look in every direction and also able to appear in any form needed to relieve suffering.

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May 15, 2004

Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival): This Shinto day of parading in Kyoto, Japan, came about because nearly a thousand years ago two Kyoto shrines had fallen into neglect — and so disaster came in the form of plague and flood. Imperial messengers were sent out to tend the shrines afterwards, and today’s celebrations recreate that procession in period costume, using ox-drawn carriages, with everything and everyone adorned in hollyhocks.

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May 16, 2004

Mercury enters Taurus
In contrast to the “fools rush in” attitude of Mercury in Aries, our thoughts take a cautious and conservative turn. We are are strongly influenced by tradition, and value the tried and true ways of doing things. We are not eager to embrace new and radical ideas, but prefer to learn slowly and methodically, with each step firmly grounded in what we already know and are comfortable with.

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May 17, 2004

Mars at 6 degrees Cancer trine Uranus in Pisces
Mars in Cancer feeds and energizes our world-changing sentiments. We feel driven to take practical action for positive change in the world, to make things happen and shape the world around us in our own image of how it should be. Social and political activism are natural expressions of this urge, and our efforts in these directions can achieve tangible results.

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May 18, 2004

Sennin Gyoretsu (Procession of 1,000 Warriors): In Nikko, Japan, this procession honors Japan’s first Shogun, who was buried at Toshogu Shrine in 1617. More than 1,000 people dressed in traditional Samurai armour parade through the streets in a re-enactment of the famous Shogun’s burial procession.

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May 19, 2004

Moon Phase
New Moon in Taurus, 4:52 Universal Time.

Jerusalem Day: The Israeli holiday Yom Yerushalayim celebrates the day in 1967 when the newly re-established land of Israel gained possession of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War against Jordanian and other Arab forces. The victory took place on June 7, 1967, but under the Hebrew calendar, the anniversary is May 19 this year.

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May 20, 2004

Sun enters Gemini
The practical, down-to-earth energy of Sun in Taurus takes wing as the Solar wind shifts to curious, communicative Gemini. Our attentions are scattered in many directions as our interests become more varied and extend beyond hearth and home in many directions. Communications become easier and we find ourselves talking and listening to a wider circle of people. There is a danger of spreading ourselves too thin and of not finishing what we start, but if we stay focused our thinking and problem-solving skills can be applied in many productive ways.

Ascension of Christ: Also known as Ascension Thursday, this is the Christian observance of the departure of Jesus from Earth after the resurrection, and it is celebrated 40 days after Easter. It is one of the oldest Christian holidays, documented as far back as A.D. 68. The Bible says the risen Christ appeared to his followers many times after his resurrection, assuring them that he had returned to life and encouraging them to spread his teachings. On the 40th day, his disciples went with him to the Mount of Olives, where he was taken up to heaven “before their very eyes.” They watched him rise into the sky until a cloud obstructed their view, according to Luke’s account in the Acts of the Apostles.

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May 21, 2004

Mercury at 6 degrees Taurus sextile Uranus in Pisces
An inventive, experimental attitude gives us the ability to see things in new ways. Intuition and practical knowledge combine to give birth to creative ideas that we couldn’t see while our vision was more limited. We are open minded and flexible, and may find ourselves investigating (or expressing) new and radical ideas.

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May 22, 2004

Mars at 9 degrees Cancer sextile Jupiter in Virgo
We feel energetic, confident and competent, and new opportunities for personal and professional growth present themselves. We may feel a healthy competitive energy that results in successful business activities. Joining with others in an enterprising spirit to achieve shared goals can have positive results; in fact, anything we are moved to take action on is likely to have a positive outcome, so seize the moment!

Anastenaria: Fire walking! A ceremony featuring barefoot dancing on red-hot coals takes place in certain Greek communities in honor of Sts. Constantine and Helen. The festival runs from May 21-23.

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May 23, 2004

Declaration of the Bab: The Baha’i faith traces its beginnings to this day in 1844, when Mirza Ali Muhammad of Persia (now Iran) declared that he was the Bab, or the gate, to unite religions. The faith grew out of Shi’ite Islam.

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May 24, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Mercury at 9 degrees Taurus trine Jupiter in Virgo
Our ability to understand abstract ideas and our desire to grow intellectually is especially strong at this time. We have good judgment, and can readily see the forest without getting lost in the trees. Positive thinking combines with a strong interest in learning and teaching.

Sts. Cyril and Methodius Day: The saints were brothers and missionaries in the ninth century in what are now the Czech and Slovak Republics and in Bulgaria. St. Cyril is believed to have invented the Slavonic, or Cyrillic, alphabet that is still in use in Slavic countries. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared the brothers patron saints of Europe.

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May 25, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Mars at 11 degrees Cancer conjunct Saturn
Discipline, patience and endurance result in getting things accomplished. Although we may feel that we’re working against a lot of resistance and obstacles, we have the energy and persistance to come through successfully. The important thing is to avoid becoming frustrated or discouraged — all that’s required for success is to stay the course.

Mercury at 11 degrees Taurus sextile Saturn in Cancer
Adding to the positive Saturnian energy today, Mercury sextile Saturn gives us focus and concentration, and the ability to think logically and rationally. We are able to concentrate on work that requires patience, attention to detail, and precision. Not a time for superficial social banter or trivialities, it’s a good time for planning and organizing, learning practical skills and taking care of business.

Mercury at 11 degrees Taurus sextile Mars in Cancer
The final leg of today’s Mars/Saturn/Mercury configuration brings a decisive and mentally assertive quality to our endeavors. Eschewing sidetracks or distractions we successfully focus on practical solutions to whatever tasks we undertake.

Eve of Shavuot: Religious Jews keep vigil as the counting of the Omer ends and the two-day celebration of Shavuot begins. Partly a summer harvest festival, Shavuot also commemorates the three days the people of Israel spent camped on Mount Sinai when God handed down to Moses the basic spiritual laws of the Torah, encapsulated in the Ten Commandments, and the Hebrew people were unified as a nation.

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May 26, 2004

Shavuot: Observed on the Hebrew dates of Sivan 6 and 7, which this year are May 26 and 27, Shavuot is a Jewish festival celebrating both the material and spiritual gifts of God. It officially begins at sundown May 25, 2004. Partly a summer harvest festival, Shavuot also commemorates the three days the people of Israel spent camped on Mount Sinai when God handed down to Moses the basic spiritual laws of the Torah, encapsulated in the Ten Commandments, and the Hebrew people were unified as a nation.

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May 27, 2004

Moon Phase
First-quarter Moon in Virgo, 7:57 Universal Time.

Sun at 6 degrees Gemini square Uranus in Pisces
We may be confrontated with sudden unexpected events that challenge the status quo and push us to break free of confining relationships or situations. Our usual routines are likely to be disrupted by “freak” accidents or events that are beyond our control and force us to take a different approach.

Shavuot: Concluding day of the Jewish festival that celebrates the gifts of the Torah and the summer harvest.

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May 28, 2004

Mercury at 15 degrees Taurus square retrograde Neptune in Aquarius
Mental clarity is diminished at this time, and a heightened imagination may add confusion and make it difficult to distinguish reality from fantasy. Right brain (intuitive) thinking dominates, making logical/analytical reasoning difficult or impossible. Our minds tend to wander, and it is up to us whether this is a time of creative insight or idle daydreaming.

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May 29, 2004

Ascension of Baha’u’llah: The founder of the Baha’i faith died in Palestine on this day in 1892, and his followers observe it as a holy day in honor of the ascension of his spirit. Baha’u’llah, whose title means Glory of God, was born Mirza Husayn Ali in Persia and was raised Islamic. He became a follower of a new sect begun by a fellow Persian known as the Bab. The Bab declared himself a gate through which religions could unite. The Bab was executed. But several years later, Baha’u’llah announced that he was God’s messenger whose coming was foretold by the Bab. He went on to found the Baha’i religion.

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May 30, 2004

Pentecost Sunday: Just as the Christian Last Supper comemorates a day when Jesus was celebrating a Jewish holiday, Passover, so the Christian holiday of Pentecost hearkens back to a day, 50 days after Jesus’ Easter resurrection, when Jerusalem was filled with Jews from many lands who had come to the holy city to celebrate Shavuot. As the Bible tells it, the resurrected Jesus had spent 40 days among his followers. Then he instructed the apostles to remain in Jerusalem to await the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and he ascended into the heavens before their eyes. On the 50th day, when the apostles were together praying, the sound of a strong wind filled the sky, the Holy Spirit descended upon them like tongues of fire, and they began speaking in tongues they didn’t know before. Pentecost is the same day this year for Orthodox churches as for western churches.

Feast Day of St. Joan of Arc: The amazing achievements of France’s teenage heroine, Jeanne d’Arc, continue to intrigue storytellers and moviemakers nearly 600 years after her brief life. A country girl, she obeyed the voices of saints she heard speaking to her and set out on a mission to win France back from the British. She led men into battle, rescued the city of Orleans and paved the way for the coronation of France’s King Charles VII. She was captured by the king’s enemies, condemned as a heretic and a witch, and executed May 30, 1431. The anniversary is now her feast day as a saint of the Catholic Church and one of France’s patron saints.

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May 31, 2004

Sun at 9 degrees Gemini square Jupiter in Virgo
We are optimistic and possibly extravagant now, and may be trying to do too much. We are less cautious than usual, and this can lead to overconfidence and overload, biting off more than we can chew in the carefree feeling that nothing can possibly go wrong. Overindulgence and excesses of all kinds are likely at this time, so slow down and consider carefully before you get carried away with anything, be it a shopping spree or late night partying.

Mars at 15 degrees Cancer quincunx Neptune in Aquarius
A bit of schizophrenic energy makes us seesaw between decisive, forceful action and passive surrender, which makes us much less effective than we would otherwise be. We’re apt to feel restless and jangled, and may be unfairly demanding of ourselves or others.

Mercury at 21 degrees Taurus quincunx Pluto in Sagittarius
Unexpected changes and forced adjustments are in the air. Something we had counted on may suddenly disappear, or we may see a totally unsuspected side of someone or something we thought we knew well. These changes or discoveries may not be pleasant but they are valuable nonetheless, giving us new ways of understanding things that didn’t make sense before. Perhaps the Great Oz is just a clever magician pulling strings from behind the curtain.

Memorial Day: Most Americans get the last Monday in May off from work in observance of Memorial Day, and the three-day weekend it creates marks the unofficial kick-off of summer. Officially, the day honors those who have died in war. The holiday stems from the American Civil War and from an order given in 1868 by Gen. John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, to decorate Union soldiers’ graves on May 30. In 1950, the U.S. Congress added the request that the day be used to pray for permanent peace.

Feast of the Visitation: Only a matter of days after Christians celebrate Jesus’ ascension to heaven, the story of his life on Earth starts over with news of his impending birth. After learning from an angel that she was to be the mother of Jesus, and giving her consent, Mary went to the mountains to visit an older cousin, Elizabeth, who was thought to be unable to have children. But Elizabeth was already pregnant with the child who would become John the Baptist. It was said that Elizabeth’s baby leapt in her womb in gladness at the sound of Mary’s voice.

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Astrology by Gregory Ellison
Holidays compiled by Maria Barron, Anindita Basu and Sucheta Shetty
Birthday graphics by Maria Barron for Metamorphosis

For an astrological look at the month as a whole,
please see May Star Watch in this issue.