Mercury retrograde in Libra, Lunar eclipse in Aries
We’re past the halfway point of this Mercury retrograde (Sep 17-Oct 9), and so I have a few observations (The deepest learning of astrology comes through observation). Like all Mercury retrograde cycles this one is providing opportunities to revisit and reconnect with projects and relationships from the past, review misunderstandings or mistakes, and move towards resolving old issues. Since this Mercury retrograde takes place fully in the sign of Libra, the revisits may revolve around Libran values, such as interpersonal relating, empathy, and understanding the feelings and needs of both sides of any difference or conflict. Depending on the house of your birth chart where you have Libra will determine more specifically the types of things you may be reworking during this Mercury retrograde period.
Meanwhile the Lunar eclipse on Sep 27th was an interesting counterbalance occurring in the opposite sign of Aries. A Full Moon is always the peak, climax, or crisis point of the lunar month, but the addition of an eclipse takes it to a more intense level. Even though the deeper significations of an eclipse take place over a period of months (before and after the exact date of the eclipse), the day of the eclipse itself can certainly be telling too. I knew of three people who had this eclipse tightly conjunct one of their Aries planets, and they were all sick during the few days around the eclipse. Since this was an eclipse occurring near the South node of the Moon, it suggests a time of letting go. For those who were sick, I’m interpreting this as a detoxification process. But more generally this eclipse could be seen as a detoxification process for all of us in whatever part of our natal chart where we have Aries. I have Aries in my 7th house of one-to-one relationships, and right around the time of the eclipse, I had fleeting but important differences to attend to with a few people I connect with in a one-to-one way. Each one involved letting go of old thought forms or patterns. The fact that it was a Full Moon, an eclipse, and being in the fiery, impulsive, assertive sign of Aries added a higher degree of emotionality than might otherwise be present.
How did this eclipse play out for you? It’s always fruitful to note these things, in the same way it is fruitful to remember and explore the meanings of one’s dreams. These practices help us along the path towards greater self-knowledge and self-mastery.
During Mercury’s apparent travel backwards, at the midpoint of the retrograde phase, is a special moment when Mercury meets up with the Sun. This occurred on Sep 30th. It can be thought of as Mercury’s New Moon so to speak, the beginning point of a new Mercury cycle. Things are sown, either consciously or unconsciously, at this conjunction, so you can note what occurred on that day — ideas, discussions, events, or flashes or urges for a new and different way. It is an inception point, though it may not be clear just how those things will grow up and expand until after Mercury goes direct.
Today an astrology friend mentioned to me her observation about the current Mercury retrograde: “It seems like I have to go backward rather than being able to go forward with my plans. But when I really look at it I see that all the stuff that comes up does serve my plans from a larger perspective… Just not the ones I had at the top of my most current to do list.” This is a helpful way to perceive the classic delays or needed repairs that occur during Mercury retrograde.
My experience with this Mercury retrograde is the uncanniness of how unresolved issues from the past pop up like clockwork during Mercury’s retrograde phase. Especially when it is something that was initiated during a previous Mercury retrograde cycle. It seems it will forevermore come up in subsequent Mercury retrogrades, in hopes of resolution! Yet in many circumstances it may be that a final resolution will be impossible until a resolution is reached while Mercury is direct and not retrograde. Remembering this can help when patience for things to be resolved is needed. Because even if it is resolved during Mercury retrograde it may not *really* be resolved, so might as well sit tight and peacefully wait for that desired resolution until after Mercury turns direct!
Likewise, I am once again observing that if a decision is made during the shadow phase, which started on May 4th this time, I should be prepared that it may not be as final as it seems. The issue will probably surface again for review during the retrograde phase, and the decision may even appear to move in the reverse direction (appropriate symbolism for a retrograde planet). Further reviews may occur in the post-retrograde shadow phase. However when a decision is come to after Mercury is direct, it has usually gone through the necessary back and forth process and will actually be final.
The same astrology friend as mentioned above said another telling thing that reflects this back and forth process of a retrograde planet: “It was like ironing. I had to go back and forth till I got the thing ironed out.”
Mercury is preparing to turn retrograde Jan 21st—Feb 11th, and we are already in the shadow period. Mercury retrograde can be thought of as a time when Mercury takes a break from normal duties and goes on a little vacation. This is often considered a frustration for people, but in actuality it is meant to give all of us a vacation of sorts. The pre-retrograde shadow period from Jan 5th—Jan 20th is a built in span of time that can help us prepare mentally and take some practical steps to get ready for this type of vacation. Read more...
Here are a few examples of the ways in which we can try to flow harmoniously with Mercury’s holiday. Mercury retrograde can be a vacation from making big decisions, since one may not have all the pertinent information and clarity until after Mercury turns direct. Or it can be a vacation from shopping for anything beyond day-to-day necessities, since one may be a bit more blurry on details and relevant factors when considering the options presented. And it certainly can be a vacation from jumping to conclusions or assumptions about what someone said or meant, as it will be revealed in time, but perhaps not fully during the retrograde period.
Taking a break from things like this creates room for what Mercury retrograde is actually for: introspection, introversion, slowing down the pace, reviewing the past, clearing up or fixing things from the past, pondering, mulling things over, and sleeping on it, etc. The delays that are often associated with Mercury retrograde can be seen as beneficial and helpful in allowing the type of spaciousness that is needed to balance the habitual go go go energy of typical daily life.
As Mercury continues to move backwards, he converges with the Sun today and is fully absorbed into the Sun’s light. I have heard a couple of explanations about this that I really like. One is that when a planet is conjunct the Sun, it becomes purified by the heat and fire of the Sun. Since Mercury represents the mind, thoughts, and how we communicate, we can take this moment as an opportunity to consciously choose to place certain habitual thought forms or patterns of communication that are no longer serving us, into a symbolic sacred fire to be dissolved and burned away. The other explanation I like is that the conjunction with the Sun represents a significant moment to seed a new beginning. So after the fire there is a space, an opportunity for regeneration, and a freedom to create a new thought, a new idea, a new way of communicating that represents how we want to think and express ourselves moving forward into the future. The rest of the Mercury retrograde cycle (through Oct 25) can be an incubation period providing time for further research, development, and clarification for this new consciousness or intention.
The next Mercury retrograde period is immanent (Oct 4th thru 25th), and we have been in the shadow period since Sep 13th. Mercury goes retrograde 3 to 4 times a year, so it is something to embrace! Yes, Mercury is a little mischievous, but there is nothing to fear or dread about Mercury appearing to go backwards for a few weeks! Having awareness of when it is and what it means, however, helps to either avoid those stereotypical mishaps associated with it, or have more patience and understanding about the message Mercury is trying to convey through those mishaps, when they do happen. If I were to try to briefly sum up my observations about Mercury retrograde it would be this:
Mercury retrograde gives us an opportunity to slow down and be more conscientious about how we are thinking, speaking, connecting, and interacting. Things that are said, heard, decided, bought, sold, created, or destroyed, etc. by you or those you are dealing with or relating to, during Mercury retrograde and possibly during the shadow period before it, will often need to be revisited and altered after Mercury goes direct. Knowing this makes all the difference. Read more...
So, for example, when you find yourself making an important decision, judgement, or purchase during Mercury retrograde, remember it might not be written in stone, as more information will often be revealed in the situation after Mercury goes direct, which may add to your perspective at that point. Regarding electronics, vehicles, and other equipment having problems during Mercury retrograde — Mercury is just the messenger. These problems were most likely developing for a long time under the surface and thanks to Mercury, they are now brought to your attention so you can deal with them.
In Mythology, where we glean much of our astrological symbolism from and apply it psychologically, Mercury is a complex archetype. He is not only associated with day-to-day things like commerce and communication, but he is also the only god who can travel freely between the worlds, transporting souls to and from the underworld, and the staff that he carries, the Caduceus, is a mystical symbol indeed…
There are two particularly tense times in June that echo the dramatic changes, upheavals, and long-term effects of the Cardinal Grand Cross that peaked in April. On June 14th Mars squared Pluto again, and on June 25th Mars will oppose Uranus again. Squares and oppositions are known to be stressful or hard aspects, but they serve the purpose of pressuring us to turn corners, make choices, and overcome obstacles or problems that require attention, by calling upon our ingenuity, strength, and determination. Mars contributes plenty of vigor and energy to confront these challenges but can spur us into overdrive and add volatility or impatience to the mix. Uranus brings revolutionary thinking outside of the box, but this can also mean being suddenly outside of one’s comfort zone. Pluto tends to dig up buried parts of the self that have been suppressed, revealing hidden wounds, as well as potential treasures. If these Grand Cross aspects are not affecting your chart significantly, all of this may only be experienced as a subtle feeling or in the background of the collective. But many people were and still are being directly and concretely affected by the Grand Cross and these eruptive aftershocks. The Grand Cross can be seen as a Crossroads and with the planets in the Cardinal signs there is a lot of energy for initiating new directions. Read more...
While Mercury is retrograde (June 7-30) it is a fitting time to review, reflect, and fill in additional necessary learning in connection with the complex internal processes and/or life-changing events and developments that have occurred, and which may still be stirring up conflict or confusion especially as new possibilities emerge. Mercury is having us go back and forth over the territory helping us to make sense of and integrate our experiences, as well as giving us an enticing glimpse into a richer existence more aligned with our larger self.
Another thing to note while Mercury is retrograde is that it is common to either not have all the information about matters or to not have good mental clarity about matters, and the pieces may not fall into place or all come together until after Mercury turns direct (July 1st). However, June 19th is a good day to pay attention and listen, as the Sun and Mercury will meet, planting relevant clues in the mind related to the vision of ourselves or our lives of which at this point we can only get an obscure sense.
My motto today is to try to stay relaxed, patient, and flexible as things may not be accomplished quickly, pinned down easily, or sorted out clearly at the moment. Not only is the Moon void of course all day, making it a great day for internal musings and non goal oriented activities, but Mercury — ruler of commerce, transportation, and communication, etc — has basically come to a standstill, about to turn retrograde tomorrow morning (and will be retrograde until July 1st). Mercury is already revealing the trouble spots of things that need repairs. It’s not Mercury’s fault that things break down. Mercury is only the messenger, letting us know, for our own benefit, that something is not working. Thank-you, Mercury.
An observation about the recent Mercury retrograde cycle
Now that Mercury is direct again, here is an observation I made about this recent Mercury retrograde cycle:
When the Sun and Mercury were conjunct during the retrograde phase on Mar 4th, a new seed may have indeed been planted in your life, related to the house that Mercury was retrograding through (wherever Pisces is in your birth chart). This new seed/idea/process gathered momentum at the New Moon on Mar 11th. Yet in my experience, I found that clarity around the newly planted seed was obscured until after Mercury went direct on Mar 17th. Read more...
I needed to review and rethink subjects related to the house Mercury was moving backwards in for me (and Mercury retrograde facilitated this, most thoroughly). With the rethinking/reviewing process, I felt compelled to make a decision during Mercury retrograde. However, when Mercury went direct, I found myself making a 180º turn around the whole subject, i.e. changing my mind completely. This is textbook typical for Mercury retrograde as it symbolically reflects the process that the planet goes through in the sky from our visual perspective on earth: stopping, going backwards for awhile, stopping again, and then turning around to go forward again. Now we too can move forward — with fresh experience, insight, and knowledge gathered from the going to and fro/back and forth process.
Mercury ☿ slowing down, preparing to stop and turn around...
Today I noticed I was having an unusually hard time moving at a normal pace, that is, I’m moving extra slowly. Then I remembered that Mercury, god of motion, is also currently moving more slowly than normal — as he prepares to stop and reverse directions early Saturday morning. I am consoled. I am simply in tune :) . We are preparing for another 3 week retrograde period of reviewing, re-doing, renewing, repairing, revisiting, re-visioning, and resting. Mercury slowing down and going backwards, gives us a chance to do all this.
Today Mercury retrograde is conjunct the Sun: “Mercury is in the Heart of the Sun, symbolically in the throne room of the King. This is the ‘seed moment’ of the Mercury cycle — as the Earth, Mercury and the Sun all line up in a straight line. Thus, it is a wonderful time to set your intentions with respect to communications, movement, learning, teaching and any other Mercurial significations” (Gary Caton). This conjunction of Mercury with the Sun is near where the eclipse happened — once again highlighting the area of one’s chart where Scorpio lies, and showing a specific area of life and self where one can focus the intention. “I believe that if there is something you wish to achieve or master, it helps to sit down first and have an image of yourself already there” (Howard Sasportas)