Mercury stations direct

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When Mercury goes retrograde, the information it imparts has to do with the sign it’s in and the aspects it makes to other planets during the retrograde cycle. It will have a specific message for our own individual natal charts, but it will have a collective message for all of us, too.

Mercury stationed retrograde November 16th at 13°29’ Sagittarius, squaring Neptune in Pisces. Mentally, we were all in a fog about something. It stations direct today at 4:22 p.m. EST at 27°16’ Scorpio. For many of us this has been a rough one, but hopefully it also has brought all of us a little more clarity.

What informs this clarity?

During any Mercury retrograde period, insights arrive both from within ourselves and from the past in some way. Yesterday Shutterfly helpfully sent me this reminder of how incredibly cute Lyndon was. Shutterfly regularly sends me photo memories, and most of them are sweet. But it rarely sends me pictures of Lyndon’s. First. Christmas. And that’s the feeling of the end of this retrograde cycle in Scorpio. What we’re seeing or taking in through any of our senses deeply pierces our hearts in some way. Maybe we missed the learning opportunity the first time around, or we forgot it in some way that was crucial. And if the lesson is deep and powerful enough, it can take our breath away. This was a retrograde of searing truths. So if you’re in that heavy space, honor the breadth and depth of what you’ve been processing.

Mercury retrograde famously is associated with mistakes, misunderstandings, and glitches. And they can be our teachers, too – slowing us down, helping us be more intentional. This Mercury retrograde cycle I tried to pay attention to the interactions I had because of the setbacks. Who or what showed up to help me? Who or what had I not noticed until a moment of frustration or vulnerability? Which creative options did I discover out of necessity that I may want to carry forward with me?

During this retrograde period I also heard my own words or vocal tone comes back to me – for good and for bad. I heard kindness and encouragement from coworkers, a cheery sing-song from my Mom. I heard an aggravated, impatient tone in Lyndon’s voice that never used to be there. They were different illustrations of my own voice, showing me what I like about my communication and what I can still do better.

At the beginning of this retrograde period, Mercury squared Mars. And so in some way, Mars has been our teacher. Conflict and courage were part of the message of the past three weeks. As we encountered anger, aggression, will, or fear, have we drawn a boundary or forged ahead in a new, uncharted way?

Later Mercury aligned with the sun and Jupiter in Sagittarius. Part of this inward or backward retreat has been to reclaim our own faith, hope, light, and immensity. What did we forget or never notice about our own possibility and essence? Because Mercury travels so closely to the sun and retrogrades three times a year, we get this chance symbolically to see and express ourselves anew several times a year. But this sun/Mercury conjunction in Sagittarius related to the self we want to be philosophically. Our beliefs have been in the spotlight. Exploration and wisdom have been in the spotlight. And hopefully this searching period has shown us some risks we needed to take to be more true and free.

As Mercury stations direct on this day when the Sagittarius moon joins the same degree as Jupiter, it could soothe us to absorb and connect meaning to some of the wisdom we’ve personally gained during the last three weeks. Importantly, tomorrow will be a new moon and Mars and Neptune will join at the same degree. Our strength is aligned with something bigger than we are, even if we still can’t yet see the way forward.

This Mercury retrograde has come during Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the Temple after its desecration, and Advent, the Christian season of waiting for the arrival of Christ. And in that duality we find ourselves: Even as there’s more to prepare for and anticipate, there are victories and signs of hope, big and small, worth seeing and celebrating.

 

 

 

A story for the Festival of Lights and the balsamic Scorpio moon

"I have no answers, but I have a lot of questions, and those questions have helped me live better than any answers I might find."
- Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, interviewed in this episode of "On Being" with Krista Tippett.

Dr. Remen's lifelong struggle with Crohn's disease has shaped her work as a doctor. She says it's important to remember that even when you don't have the ability to cure, you can always heal. Her grandfather, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi whom she lovingly refers to as a "flaming mystic", told her this story as a gift for her 4th birthday:

"This is the story of the birthday of the world. In the beginning, there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof. The source of life. And then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand, thousand things emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then... there was an accident. And the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world -- broke. And the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, was scattered into a thousand, thousand fragments of light. And they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day. According to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again. And thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world. It's a very important story for our time, that we heal the word one heart at a time. This task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew: the restoration the world."

"...This is of course a collective task. It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently living, all people yet to be born: We are all healers of the world. And that story opens a sense of possibility. It's not about healing the world by making a huge difference. It's about healing the world that touches you. That's around you. And that's where our power is.... I think we all feel that we're not enough to make a difference, that we have to be more somehow, either wealthier or more educated, or somehow or other different from the people we are. And according to this story, we're exactly what's needed And to just wonder about that a little. What if we were exactly what's needed? What then? How would I live if I'm exactly what's needed to heal the world?" (It's worth hearing her tell the story herself, at about 4.44.)

And finally, wisdom for today's balsamic Scorpio moon, combining themes of letting go, loss, going deeply into dark spaces, and powerfully, lovingly transforming: "The fact is that life is full of losses and disappointments. And the art of living is to make of them something that can nourish others. And it's taken me a long time to find the recipe that's mine... but I had a sense of what might be possible and that I needed to look to find the way for myself."

https://www.wnyc.org/story/rachel-naomi-remen--the-difference-between-fixing-and-healing

A poem for the Moon in Leo

Yesterday a reader of my posts reached out to me to ask me how I’m doing. I haven’t written in a while. The truth is with my 1st House Aries moon I’m a person of passionate phases, and some (like my Whitney Houston phase) last and some (like my Madonna phase) don’t. I can’t rush or fake them. They confuse even me. I was wondering if writing might be another of my phases.

The past month I’ve looked at the daily aspects but haven’t known what to say about them. I couldn’t find my voice. I was hoping that when Neptune stationed direct last week I would be clearer. I wanted to be helpful and productive again.

I sat down yesterday to write something about the moon in Leo, but this came out instead. The current Mercury retrograde began at the same degree as my natal Neptune, and I’m still in a Neptune-y fog. Neptune can represent dreams, images, poetry, water, inspiration, loss, confusion, longing, and oneness with God and all that is.

I don’t know if this is a poem or a reflection. The moon is still in Leo, combining feeling and mystery with the risk of showing and sharing who we really are. Today I am nebulous and in-between, but still wanting to connect and wish you peace.

----
Sometimes I don’t water the plants in my office,
even when I know they’re thirsty.
Instead we behold each other,
desolate and parched.

One day could become five or seven.
I might water this plant but not those.
I never know how much company I’ll need in my yellowed, drooping state
or for how long.

The tips of their leaves turn brown
until finally I’m moved to save them
with water and not just what’s left of my tea.
The next day they’re greener, grateful.

Maybe I’m not a lily of the field
but a potted plant
on a dusty sill:
Long- waiting and wilted,
Then, suddenly, saved.

On telling our story and the hope of Jupiter in Sagittarius

Astrology fascinates me as a tool to understand family systems, including my own. I love to hear people’s stories and then see how the symbols in their charts reveal an added dimension to the challenges they've faced and the resources they have. I asked my brother Rich if I could share some of his story.

Rich was a Full Moon baby. He was born with the Sagittarius moon opposite the Gemini sun. His moon, Venus and Mercury are all “out of bounds”, which astrologer Tony Howard describes to non-astrologers this way: “...An out of bounds planet is as high or low as it can go from our view on Earth. Imagine a midline that all of the planets more or less travel along. Each can travel above and below that midline. But some get really far up there, even further than the Sun can go. And that’s when we call them ‘out of bounds.’” Out of bounds planets correlate with innovation and out-of-the-box originality, but also with extremes. The full moon and out of bounds planets in Rich’s chart reflect this inner and outer experience of extremes, in his emotions (moon), his processing and communication (Mercury), and his relationships (Venus). Rich was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a senior in high school.

Rich is a rapper and a poet, very fitting for a Gemini who is here to teach and witness. He raps about his experience of feeling suicidal and our Mom’s herculean faith:

“Fetal position for days. Mom tellin’ me God is good and this is only a phase.”

In astrology the opposition aspect is an interesting one: It can symbolize what opposes you or seems out of reach and what is also your partner. His out of bounds Sagittarius moon at once represents the bipolar genes he inherited, the hope and comfort that have at his lowest point seemed unreachable, and the mother who has helped pull him out of his own mind, toward faith and love. Our mother was hospitalized with post-partum psychosis when Rich was seven. In this way I see the out of bounds quality of his moon as a gift: If you’ve walked through Hell like Rich has, how much would it help to have a parent who has been where you are and won’t give up on you, no matter what? How would your broken spirit require that?

Our suns ultimately show us how we’re here to shine individually, and though Rich’s sun is so significantly tied to his moon, his story is not my mother’s. It’s unique to him. Three out of bounds planets reflect a path of freedom and individuation. He learned to write poetry just as our Mom did, but his poems are a different style, and he also raps. He learned to have faith just as our Mom does, but to him Church became riding the subway or walking to buy milk from the neighborhood store. And he teaches just as our Mom did, but not high school: Rich leads groups as a peer advocate, at times in the same hospital unit where he stayed after his own breakdowns.

Rich is 51, an astrologically significant age, because it refers to your Chiron return. Chiron is the symbol of the wounded healer, and it takes 51 years for the centaur to make a full trip around a person’s chart, returning to the spot where it was when s/he was born. We all have the option to become attached to a description of ourselves as wounded; the reality is that life is hard and we would be justified. But people who navigate their Chiron return gracefully take on a mentoring role for others and use their own experience of wounding to help and heal others.

Here’s a poem Rich wrote recently. He’ll be the featured poet next week at the Queens main library, and in generous Rich fashion, he’s invited Lyndon to perform a poem during the Open Mic portion. I don’t know if Lyndon will. Really, we’re all so excited see Rich. If you find yourself in Queens on November 18th, please join us.

Now that Jupiter has entered Sagittarius, beginning a year’s trip through the sign, may you find hope in your own story, reasons to believe in your own great gifts, and ways to share them that fill you with confidence and joy.

'never Ladybugs'
these days,
i am grateful for the moments
when i am forced to narrow my focus.
---------------------------------------------------
for example,
when there was a Ladybug on my leg
a few days ago.
that dominated my thoughts for a minute or two.
i was sitting in my apartment when i noticed her,
so i took her outside and realized how lucky she was
to not know all the things we know.
to be a four-spotted citizen of the world.
------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------
my pet Corn Snake Julius had a respiratory infection last week.
his breathing sounded like a bowl of rice crispies.
i went online and learned
that you can treat it
with a couple of plastic containers
and a bowl of hot water with vicks in it.
it did the trick.
-------------------
-----------------------
human beings let us down.
never Ladybugs
never Julius
never tupperware
never vicks
----------------
we are lacking.
---------------------
a Butterfly is never less than a Butterfly.
not even in these times.
---------------------------------
these times,
according to newspapers and magazines,
were made for poetry.
that's a lot of pressure.
-------------------------------
better for a Ladybug to land on your leg, i think.
or for you to save a Snake from pneumonia.
better for you to look into the eyes of someone you've missed.
and for you to be, for one another,
a respite


The moon as love

These past couple of days had some challenges. It’s not so simple to reconcile the moon’s Aquarius energy of social interaction and curiosity with the deeply-feeling, protective energy of the three Scorpio planets it’s squaring. Do we get out there or do we stay hidden?

I’m easily hurt and embarrassed. And I’m also part-extrovert. So I don’t really know how to do this dance.

The Libra sun symbolizes a balancing act, and Venus retrograde hints that maybe in the past it hasn’t always gone so smoothly. But the moon always symbolizes the great healer: Unconditional love that doesn’t leave us. The moon is tidally locked to the earth, always showing us the same face, brighter or darker, more or less visible, but always there.

I hope you feel connected to that love today.

A loving push, if we're up to it

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Mars will spend one more month in Aquarius, and won’t return to the sign until March 2020. If your world's been rocked by unpredictable events or the actions of others lately, that could be welcome news. But today’s moon/Mars conjunction also symbolizes a chance to make peace with Aquarian energy and if we're ready, to get ourselves going again.

We might've had fits of “What’s the point?” while Mars has been in Aquarius. We've probably had bouts where we just needed to mentally check out. Today the energy of the moon can help us soften and heal the angry, scared, or dejected parts of us so we can reawaken our own special groove.

Mars represents our desire nature. So what is it you want?

At some point today, name a result or inner feeling that you really want.

What we don’t want has probably been clearer lately. But today marks an opportunity to reflect on and change any energy that’s been stuck in simple rebellion or detachment into creative, inspired, original action toward something that excites us.

If you're in the midst of an acute crisis, I hope you'll find some rest and peace today. But if you're in a position to come forward, today could be the Holy Spirit's loving nudge.

 

Going forward too during Venus retrograde

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Venus has been retrograde in Scorpio since October 5th. Venus retrogrades in a sign every eight years. Venus retrograde periods are opportunities to achieve greater ease within and a greater connection to others by turning our attention inwardly and by revisiting the past. Venus symbolizes our ability to recognize and reflect beauty, peace, and love; Scorpio allows us to penetrate the truth and unlock a power that’s been dormant or repressed.

What energies have your relationships recently been reflecting back to you? Which themes from the past have resurfaced? How have your interactions revealed unconscious patterns or shown you your own transformation over time?

The Capricorn moon joined the same degree as Pluto this morning, connecting our emotional state to this Venus retrograde period. It can feel heavy and deep. And yet today’s first quarter moon symbolically also compels us forward.

If you’d like, at some point today reflect on how you’ve been changing and why. Maybe the dates from the past 8 Venus in Scorpio retrograde cycles will help you; maybe something else you come across will. Love and relationships are so complex; we awkwardly but so sincerely attempt this dance of truly being seen. Give yourself some credit and some time.