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…
The Sun entered Libra on 9/22 to stay for a month. In the progression through the zodiac, the transition from the Virgo archetype to the Libra one is a significant shift. The signs from Aries to Virgo represent a process of self-development primarily, whereas the signs from Libra to Pisces represent partnerships and social/worldly affairs. The theme of Virgo (the Virgin – keep in mind the ancient meaning of virgin was “a woman unto herself”) is about becoming more whole in oneself and by oneself. This process serves as underpinning for an association or partnering that may evolve out of it. The nature of the self-adjustments and self-improvements that occur in Virgo will play a determining role in the nature of the association or partnering that may form in Libra, the sign that follows. Virgo gives opportunities to prepare oneself to become as whole as possible before entering into partnership. Now as the Sun has entered Libra, consciousness may become more aware of inherent connections that exist and the sense of an innate unity with a certain other or others. Moreover, the natural propensity of Libra is to attempt to see life though the others perspective. This is a beautiful quality, often lacking in our world, but it can be overdone if it is to the point of losing track of ones own truth. That is why Balance, balance between self and other, is an ever important practice for Libra people and for all of us during Libra times.
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Mercury retrograde in Libra, Lunar eclipse in Aries
We’re past the halfway point of this Mercury retrograde (Sep 17-Oct 9, 2015), 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.
We had a Solar Eclipse New Moon on Mar 20th and there is a Lunar Eclipse Full Moon tomorrow morning (Apr 4th). This Lunar Eclipse (at 14º Libra) is tightly connected with the last exact Uranus/Pluto square, which though ebbing is still very active. So this Eclipse may correlate with moving in the direction of closure regarding the transformative process of internal and external restructuring that took place over the last three years.
The time around eclipses, and especially between a set of eclipses, can be highly charged for many (depending on how it is interacting with your birth chart), because eclipses have a way of bringing things up to the surface, which were previously only brewing in the unconscious. Once in plain view often something must be done or at least seen and accepted as a reality. In this way eclipses necessitate actions and attitudes that usher in needed change. But even positive change can be tumultuous or scary.
As always a Full Moon brings awareness or clarity (though often not until a day or two after the exact Full Moon) as it sheds light where there was darkness (the unknown) before. Also, Full Moons and Lunar Eclipses embody a polarization of some sort as the Sun and Moon are in direct opposition to one another. This opposition between two poles may be felt as an internal tension or experienced with an external person or situation. This eclipse is near the North node, so wherever Libra is in your birth chart, is where something new will be learned, assimilated, integrated, or received.
Sep 15th, A New Moon in the mutable, earth sign of Virgo ♍. This is the perfect time to begin a new health or work routine. The New Moon supports you in clarifying intentions and initiating new ventures. The archetype of Virgo is about purification, analysis, and refinement. Virgo rules health, service, and all of the mundane details of the day-to-day — which must be accomplished in order to sustain life and create space for the sacred. Wherever 24º of Virgo falls in your chart is the area of life that will be activated and rejuvenated by this New Moon.
Last night Pluto turned direct after being retrograde since Apr 14th. When a planet prepares to change directions (or more accurately, its apparent motion from our perspective on Earth), it gradually and increasingly slows down first, comes to a full stop, and then slowly begins to move in the opposite direction. If the planet changes directions at a degree of the zodiac that aspects your chart, the experience of that aspect will be prolonged and intensified. In the case of Pluto, the slowest moving planetary archetype that we study in astrology, this means that if you have any significant planets or points in your chart at or close to 11º Capricorn or 11º of the other Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, or Libra), you will be feeling this Pluto station especially strongly during all of Aug, Sept, and Oct 2014.
So what does an intense Pluto aspect feel like? Well, Pluto is the god of the “underworld.” If you have been “abducted,” like Persephone was by Hades, you will be feeling it — maybe only symbolically or internally but possibly more literally, depending on what is needed for your personal growth. Read more...
In modern astrology we try to emphasize the positive psychological benefits of all planetary influences, so we use words like transformation, death and rebirth, and rising anew like the phoenix from its ashes, when speaking of Pluto. We talk about going within into the depths of one’s being and taking an honest look at what is hidden and lurking in the darkness of one’s unconscious. All of that is relevant and true, but sometimes Pluto transits are described that way instead of being described simply as being in hell, faced with cruel circumstances or actual criminals, and only to be released after a long and tortuous nightmare is over. During an intense contact with Pluto, it can truly feel like being in hell and it is possible you will meet some dark characters while there. I want to honor that fully. But in time, like Persephone, we may come to appreciate our time in the underworld. We have learned so much about ourselves and about life from the abyssal voyage. We have probably lost a bit more innocence and naiveté, painful as it is necessary. In Jungian psychology it is said that what is not given a conscious outlet in oneself will be encountered externally in others. By the time we return to the surface where the sun shines, we will not only be wiser and stronger, but we will be more whole, as we integrate our experience of Pluto. That is why Pluto is also associated with hidden treasures, riches, and wealth. We must venture down below in order to discover and take them for ourselves.
The Sabian Symbols are 360 symbolic vignettes each corresponding to a degree of the zodiac. Many astrologers use them in chart interpretation to get a richer sense of meaning for any important planet or point in a chart, such as the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant. For instance, when I was born, the Sun was at 5º41’ Leo. The corresponding Sabian for my Sun is:
Leo 6*: A sweet old-fashioned belle, and a pert and attractive modern flapper, stand in mutual envy of each other.
From the time I was a child and my mother told me this was the symbol for my Sun, it always resonated deeply. As I got older and came to understand my chart as a whole, I began to see how not only did it capture the essence of my core (the Sun), but interestingly it also captured other prominent themes in my chart, such as my Libra Ascendent (balancing opposites, seeing the other side of the story, and a focus on aesthetics etc), my Sun conjunct Saturn (Saturn represents tradition, and therefore is “old-fashioned”) and my Sun/Saturn square Uranus (Uranus represents breaking free from old structures, and therefore fits “a modern flapper.” In some mystical way, the specific Sabian symbol for the degree of my Leo Sun acts as a holon** for my whole chart. Not everyone resonates as obviously and spontaneously with their Sabians; sometimes it takes some contemplation to penetrate into the meaning of the symbol. Read more...
To look up the Sabian Symbols relevant for your chart, click here.
I happen to use this longer, more poetic version of the Sabians, because they seem to hold more meaning for me, personally. But there is a concise version that is more well known. In that version the equivalent of my Sun is:
Leo 6: An old fashioned ‘consevative’ woman is confronted by an up-to-date girl.
I dont feel this version captures my essence as well, but some feel the concise version is the more original version. To look up the Sabian Symbols in this version, click here.
Regarding the different versions of the Sabian Symbols, here is an excerpt from Diane Applebaum:
“The story of how the Sabian Symbols came about will be found in the second chapter of Part One in Dane Rudhyars ‘An Astrological Mandala.’ Briefly put, on a day in 1925 Marc Edmund Jones and a well-known psychic, Elsie Wheeler, sat in a quiet area of a San Diego Park, yet a spot not far from the bustling world. He had a stack of 360 index cards, each with a degree of the zodiac written on it. Jones would shuffle the pile, and then, as he drew an index card, without either of them seeing which degree was written on it, Wheeler communicated a scene that came before her minds eye. In connection with each card, Jones ‘made a brief pen notation of what she said.’
[One version of the Sabians is the concise wording that Jones jotted down on the notecards and another is a more expanded version that Jones later wrote.]
Although Jones felt moved to repudiate this later version, it is also said that early on he doubted the validity of the Sabians in general. Nevertheless, a circle of astrologers around him began working with the vignettes and found them uncannily accurate and informing. Which version is the most ‘credible I leave up to the reader to choose. In my experience the different versions work for different people. In connection with this, my mind always goes to the point in the story of events in the park that day in which Jones is said to have felt that one of the symbols that Wheeler had seen internally was incorrect. He asked Wheeler, who he apparently felt was channeling a representative of the ancient Mesopotamian brotherhood with whom this ancient system of symbols had abided, to inquire about the accuracy of this symbol. After making the inquiry Wheeler conveyed to Jones that the Brother’s answer was to the effect that it was up to Jones to discover.
I believe that this detail in the series of events indicates a significant aspect of the event that took place at that momentous point in time, and should not be discounted as an irrelevant detail or of no account. The meaning or meanings of this occurrence are not something minor or inconsequential to be cast aside as simply inscrutable or without implication to the subsequent unfolding of the phenomenon of the Sabians coming forth to be formulated. It is my opinion that that question and answer indicated the next phase after the park event — of bringing the conception to birth. The uncertainty that was expressed by Jones and the question he put forth are part of the profound and esoteric living dynamics of the advent of these symbols in their reappearance, now in the modern day world. As they unfold in this ‘incarnation,’ the symbols are ‘stamped’ with this seed-developmental phase, much as a natal chart illustrates dynamics that become stamped upon the incarnating soul at the moment of its first breath in this life, and the unfolding shown by the progressions.
It may be noted that it was Jones who wrote down the particular words on the note cards, the brief descriptions. I wonder what all Wheeler said in connection with each card. And even if the case may be that she spoke only those few words which he wrote on each card, the Brother may have implied that Jones had a designated destined role to play in the rich and more descriptive formulation and presentation of the Symbols to the modern day world.
Each version has adherents and resonates with intuitive knowing and insight. Each may serve as a tool that has the potential to spark inspired and accurate imagination in different people. The version I work with is the longer more descriptive formulations which Jones circulated not in book form but in manuscript form. They are titled Lecture-Lessons, and, according to the dates at the tops of the pages, were issued between May 18, 1931 and November 9, 1931.”
*Always round up to the next degree when working with the symbols. Dane Rudhyar’s explanation: “if the symbol is referred to the position of a planet in an astrological chart, Cancer 5º begins at 4º 1” (four degrees and one second or minute) and ends with Cancer 4º59’59”; just as the first year (year number 1) of a life begins at birth and ends with the first birthday. We are dealing with a process, and ‘Phase One’ starts the very moment the process begins.”
**A holon is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part (Wikipedia).
Pluto went retrograde on April 10th. Because Pluto moves so slowly, when it is stationing to change directions, it stays in the same degree of the zodiac for weeks to months at a time, creating a powerful force field of Plutonian energy in one spot. If activating one’s natal chart, Pluto stationing can feel as though a hole is being burned through the part of oneself that Pluto is touching. Pluto is the planet that most correlates with depth psychology and integrating the shadow, because Pluto aspects or transits are known to bring to light things that we would rather keep hidden, even from ourselves. Read more...
Pluto, aka Hades, rules the underworld. As in the Greek myth when he abducted Persephone down into the underworld, Pluto transits may feel as though one is being carried off unwillingly to an area of darkness and forced to face a difficulty, while feeling powerless to overcome it. The experience often involves a letting go process of some sort — letting go of control, letting go of what is comfortable and familiar, letting go of a superficial reality — for the purpose of admitting in a deeper inner truth and going beyond old limitations.
“Pluto’s transits are ordinarily concerned with the death and destruction of the old, this destruction being necessary in order to make room for the new… Pluto, by transit, therefore symbolizes the power to release the more enduring from the transitory, whether it be the soul from the body at death or the individual self from the old shell of personality and ego. Transiting Pluto brings to the surface hidden or subliminal conditions in order that this energy can be released from the old shell and transformed into a new source of consciously-usable power.” ~Stephen Arroyo
Full Moon in Taurus ♉, Neptune and Chiron turn direct
The Full Moon is the climax of the lunar month and a time to observe with objectivity what is coming to light or to a head. At every Full Moon there is an opposition between the Sun and the Moon, and this polarization and tension of the opposites may be felt within oneself or within ones relationships and circumstances. When the Full Moon is in Taurus, the Sun is in Scorpio: on the one hand, there is a need to let go of the past in order to allow the necessary transformation of the self (Sun in Scorpio) — but on the other hand, there is a valid emotional longing for stability and security (Moon in Taurus), for instance…Read more...
The Sabian symbol for this Full Moon is: “A newly formed continent is seen, fresh and green within its setting of interminable ocean.” Something new is emerging — new ground to stand on and a fresh perspective. Yet it is surrounded by seemingly endless water, which can represent deep feelings, the unknown, or the infinite Divine (all of which can feel frightening to the ego).
Along with this Full Moon, both Neptune and Chiron turn direct after about 5 months of being retrograde. The retrograde period is a time of inner work — on the spiritual level with Neptune — and with Chiron, involves the healing of deep wounds. As both turn direct, we slowly see ways to integrate what we have been working on and move forward.