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.

 

 

 

Before Virgo leaves....

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The sun in Virgo can be a fretful experience. Ruling Virgo is speedy Mercury, noticing everything, drawing our attention to this or that. It can be hard to feel settled. There are just so many coulds and shoulds — a never-ending to-do or to-improve list.

The yearbook photographer has taken up shop these last two days in the faculty/staff room in my school. Every time we initial the sign-in sheet or grab a cup of coffee, we're confronted with just how much we hate our own pictures. Those of us who especially despised last year’s picture have a chance to retake it, awkwardly, in front of everyone in the room. Often, the new one is no better. We borrow hair products from each other or try to make each other smile, but pretty much everyone I see walks away with the same reaction: It is what it is. Maybe use last year’s, after all.

Yesterday I couldn’t bring myself to eat lunch in the faculty lounge. I went to the quiet, dark chapel instead, and cried. I didn’t even know why I was crying. A colleague walked in, and sat in her own pew. When I passed her to leave I noticed she was crying, too.

On the stairs leading to the chapel hangs this picture of St. Clare.

Virgo season can remind us almost cruelly how life, and we, are less than perfect. That's not Virgo's intent, any more than it's the yearbook photographer's intent to make us all feel gross. But anything that's not-quite-right has gotten our attention and by now maybe somehow deflated us.

Tonight Mercury and the sun will be at the same degree in Virgo. In some way we need to attend to a new vision of ourselves. The astrological symbol of the sun is a dot surrounded by a circle -- the seed of potential within a vast and greater whole.

Tomorrow Mercury will change signs to Libra, and the next day, the sun will, too.

My frizzy hair and failings, your fill-in-the-blank. Before the mirror of eternity — even as we are right now — I hope we can see beauty and find peace.

The invisible comes to light: sun opposite Neptune

Today the sun in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces.

Oppositions can symbolize outside forces or what we project onto others and the sun represents our evolving selves. Neptune on some level represents both letting in and letting go.

The other day Lyndon was upset because one step in the video game he was creating wasn’t working. He wanted to give up. I watched Lang ask questions and explore solutions with him. I saw Lyndon reluctantly absorb some positivity and perspective. He went back to his game peppier and more hopeful, and I was relieved, until I saw how depleted Lang had become from the interaction.

Lyndon and I do this: When something goes wrong, we want to throw in the towel. We both have the sun and Neptune joined in our charts, and we start with a perfect dream in our heads. And then we feel doomed and defeated if we hit a snag or a problem. It’s so disappointing and overwhelming that we want to give up the dream completely. What’s the point? Who even cares? We do, and we’re crushed, but when that feeling comes we just want to give up.

And often Lang rides in to help us. So we give him our bad mood, and our litany of complaints, and he helps us break things down into achievable steps. He helps us see the positive. And I don’t know how often, but at least sometimes, we forget to thank him. I’m going on 17 years in this pattern. He loves me and he believes in me, and so he naturally helps and boosts me up. But because he loves me, it takes an emotional toll. How would it feel for both of us if he didn’t always have to help?

We were born to be fluid, but we get stuck in roles: The victim, the savior.

Today we’ll get flooded with images, and they can help us see which side of the coin we might be on in different areas of our life. Try not to let the new knowledge depress you. We can always make adjustments. Today will just open our eyes.

If you’d like, set an intention to rebalance yourself or an important relationship, so you can stop being stuck in one role.

 

Be as you are, do what you can: Grand trine in earth

Today there’s a harmonious grand trine in the earth element: The moon and Uranus in Taurus, the sun in Virgo, and Saturn in Capricorn.

It's a good day to lose yourself in a task. Take a break from overthinking or drama. Let your senses soak up beauty and pleasure – a taste, a view, a hug.  Feel the satisfaction of stillness or productivity. In Italian there’s an expression, “lavoro ben fatto” – a job done well. It’s connected with honor and pride: Putting time and effort into the details; devotion to the craft itself.

Today enter that space, away from the crowd or noise: Just as you are. Simply do your best.  

A message from your past or your heart

The sun is in Virgo and the moon is in Aquarius all day today and tomorrow. Sometimes that combo happens once a year; this year it will happen twice: 8/23-26 and 9/19-22 EDT.

The planets that rule Aquarius, Saturn and Uranus, are both retrograde now. During next month’s Virgo sun/Aquarius moon cycle, when both Mars and Saturn are direct, we can aim and accomplish more. But this cycle critically comes first, turning some of our energy back and within, reminding us what we’re made of. 

The Aquarius moon can feel electric. We might be a little more chatty and wired. Ideas come to us, or they come to someone else, and they can challenge our sense of order and routine. Yesterday I had two long phone conversations with friends – something I never do anymore. Now I just text or make plans. But there was something nostalgic about sitting in one place for a while, talking to friends I couldn’t see. It reminded me of the times I could claim the phone as the youngest child in our busy home -- settling into the most secluded spot I could find that the telephone cord could reach. I have a quiet house now, with three people instead of seven. I don’t have to share my phone, and I can take it wherever I want. But this morning I miss the sounds of Ted playing the piano and Dave bouncing a ball. One day I’ll miss the sight of 11-year old Lyndon, wearing earbuds, rifling through cupboards for a snack.

Aquarian energy can be hard to just sit with, but if you can, try, and notice what you appreciate, too.

Some disruptions fill our hearts. Some experiences or loved ones become us -- a little more messy and complicated, but a lot more blessed and whole.

 

Awakening, Virgo style

At 10:18 the Capricorn moon joins Mars and it could be a good chance for us to reexamine our anger, drive, willpower, assertion. If something comes up, the Virgo sun can help us discriminate instead of just explode. If yesterday we might have just gotten pissed, today we can be constructive. What’s really going on and what’s the best thing for me to do about it?

It could be time for us to make some noise or some changes today. But as the moon moves into Aquarius at 12:55 p.m. EDT, let your sensitivity instead of your reactivity guide you. The Virgo sun can symbolize being more critical of ourselves and others. The Aquarius moon can symbolize becoming more aware of shocks and inequalities. We weren’t born to keep our mouths shut, but we also can’t be effective if we come off as erratic or crazed. So some steadiness can help us today – some quiet time and space. And then if we need to raise hell for ourselves or someone else, we’ll know exactly why and we can begin to know just how.

Goodbye for now to the Leo sun

"A man eats on a bench" : New York Historical Society, Getty images

"A man eats on a bench" : New York Historical Society, Getty images

The sun will change signs from Leo to Virgo tonight just after midnight EDT. The personal drive shifts from who am I to what can I do?

Hopefully we’ve gotten a healthy glimpse of our own worthiness. Hopefully we’ve followed the instinct or intentionally opted to create, play, take up some space, and love. One day this month while Lyndon was away, Lang and I went to the beach instead of the supermarket, and that was a middle-aged Leo victory for us. We chose fun. Another night we double-dated with my parents. My Mom stage-whispered inappropriate comments into my ear to make me laugh like she used to by dancing in public. Those Leo moments were perfect. I wanted to freeze them in time.

Others were harder, as I struggled to know who I was and what I wanted to say. I felt an inner drive for impact – am I making the most of my talents, my life or this summer? I could sense more power but I didn’t always know how to direct it. Is it enough to just sit here and notice how great Lang is – or my mail deliverer, or that celebrity, or the lady who talked to me on the F train last night – and how great I am, too?

I think it can be. I think some of Leo homework is to let that sink in: a compliment, joy – being impressed or satisfied: The lion, confident and at rest. But after a long day at the beach we can get a little tired of the sun.

So on this last Leo day, fill up your cup somehow. Relish a moment or another being. Take stock of what’s great about you.

Tomorrow, even if you've needed or loved this Leo time of being, start to see what you're ready to do.