Venus Retrograde in Gemini

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Image made by Michelle Doucette (2020) whose work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

Venus Retrograde in Gemini

Venus will station retrograde on May 12 at 21°50′ Gemini, initiating us into a forty-four day period in which the star of Aphrodite will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on June 25 at 5º02′ Gemini. Thus the zodiacal terrain of five to twenty-two degrees of Gemini will receive a thorough excavation from Venus as it moves back and forth across the degree range, digging up some emotional material in need of release or recycling, while also rediscovering ancient artifacts of our psyche that can reveal vital lessons we need to learn in the present. Venus first crossed five degrees of Gemini on April 9 and will not finally move beyond twenty-two degrees of Gemini until July 29.

Centrally, Venus retrograde brings an end to Venus being visible at night and initiates its phase of being visible before sunrise. Venus will descend from visibility as an Evening Star at the end of May, disappear into an invisible and liminal passage of rebirth in the beginning of June, and ultimately reemerge into visibility in its Morning Star phase in which it will bring its light to the pre-dawn sky. As Venus transitions from a nocturnal to diurnal phase, its apparent backward motion is a result of it orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to its closest proximity with us in orbit. In our personal lives, Venus retrograde brings an intensification of all things related to Venus, as its visual descent in the sky reflects a call for an inner descent to dig up the roots of our desires, purging and purifying material that will bring about a reseeding of desire on the other side.

Venus retrograde periods invite us to depart from the usual into exploring the unusual, shedding old desires while coming into relationship with neglected parts of ourselves and new desires emerging from within. Venus when moving direct enjoys uniting and harmonizing elements, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, art, music, aesthetics, and whatever we attract and find attractive in relationship. During Venus retrograde, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional space of social norms loosening to allow for deep reevaluation of inner values as well as how we are seeking to fulfill our changing values and needs.

While Venus is normally associated with seductive pleasures that draw us into full sensual engagement in our body, as Venus draws closer to us in orbit through its retrograde its magnetism on our desires increases and creates a potent influence on our daily experiences. Pivotal turning points in stories often occur and important new relationships and directions often emerge as we simultaneously must confront and lay to rest old issues from the past. Emotions and desires become messy and paradoxical during Venus retrograde, a necessary disorder that becomes part of a process of reordering passions.

The strangely magical quality of time brought by Venus retrograde periods corresponds with the fact that Venus shifts retrograde five times every eight years, tracing a five pointed star within the circle of the zodiac like the five petaled form of the rose. Similar to the high level of structure involved in sacred ritual, Venus retrograde periods are so highly structured that every eight years we experience a Venus retrograde period in the same area of the zodiac (a few degrees away each time) at the same general time (a few days away each time). These are the most recent Venus retrograde phases in Gemini:

  • May 15 – June 27, 2012 from 23º59′ Gemini to 7º29′ Gemini
  • May 17 – June 29, 2004 from 26º08′ Gemini to 9º37′ Gemini
  • May 19 – July 2, 1996 from 28º17′ Gemini to 11º46′ Gemini
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Evening Harmony by the Sea (1930) by Alphones Osbert

here to me from Krete to this holy temple  /  where is your graceful grove  /  of apple trees and altars smoking  /  with frankincense.

And in it cold water makes a clear sound through  /  apple branches and with roses the whole place  /  is shadowed and down from radiant-shaking leaves  /  sleep comes dropping.

And in it a horse meadow has come into bloom  /  with spring flowers and breezes /  like honey are blowing  /  [       ]

In this place you Kypris taking up  /  in gold cups delicately  /  nectar mingled with festivities:  /  pour.

— Sappho (translated by Anne Carson)

Venus begins its retrograde phase as a beacon of light set against the glow of stars, befitting its nocturnal nature. As Venus pauses in motion at its stationing, its impact within the astrological atmosphere increases and can draw awareness to longings that can reveal aspects of ourselves that want to become more active during the forthcoming retrograde. Venus will station retrograde high out of bounds in northern declination while engaged in a square aspect with Neptune in its exaltation of Pisces. Venus stationing out of bounds while engaged with Neptune in its sign of exaltation knows no limits and can bring forth free ranging feelings that are untethered to our usual sense of boundaries. There can be fascinating discoveries made by curiously following wherever the muse of inspiration leads, especially in creative fields involving art, crafts, and writing.

Venus formed its first square with Neptune while moving direct on May 3, and will station retrograde on May 12 one degree away. Venus will form a second exact square with Neptune while retrograde on May 20, creating a week of building tension between them following the stationing of Venus. As a result, the first three weeks of May opens a portal into an oceanic, otherworldly passage of imaginal exploration, potent dreaming, and the slow erosion of internal places and parts that had become rigid or stuck. New attractions and yearnings may arise that ultimately prove to be unstable or temporary, but if we remain curious and open to where they are guiding us they can help unlock the key meaning and messages we will need to examine during the next couple of months.

While the influence of Neptune upon Venus can dissolve emotional barriers and inspire flights of imagination, it can also correlate with becoming ungrounded, confused, or lost in illusion. In regard to the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been an unfortunate flood of conspiracy theories recently making light of the gravely serious risk to public health brought by the pandemic. Rather than believing societies can simply reopen economies and return to the way things were before social distancing measures were introduced, we will need to reimagine creative ways to protect public health while also renewing economic production. The opening square of Venus with Neptune reveals the dissolution of the way things have been and that in a rapidly changing climate of transitioning from one reality to another, we will need to sustain a cunning sense of how to adapt and mutate as needed.

The stationing of Venus also involves mediation from the asteroid Vesta, as Vesta in Gemini is applying to a conjunction with Venus as it stations, moving through an exact conjunction with Venus retrograde on May 15.  As Vesta in myth is a goddess of the hearth who devotedly sustains the sacred fire, her asteroid mediating the friction between Venus and Neptune can help gather and transfigure their tension into artistic expression or spiritual practices enabling us to receive revelation. Vesta can also help in finding one’s center amidst any complex or contradictory feelings beginning to spiral around us as Venus stations retrograde. While Vesta may indicate the need to regain sovereignty within relationships in which we have begun to lose ourselves, her presence with Venus also points toward our capacity to tend to our hearth fire and the fiery reforging of our desires we will experience during Venus retrograde.

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Lyricism in the Forest (1910) by Alphonse Osbert

Venus will be retrograde entirely within in the mutable sign of Gemini, the airy home of Mercury. Venus looping back and forth through Gemini means our curiosity will be stimulated to pursue a wide variety of interests as we are pulled back and forth between competing desires. Venus in an air sign ruled by Mercury is more intellectual than emotional, capable of mediating and holding the tension of opposing desires and conflicting feelings until giving birth to something that transcends the polarity, not unlike the Hermaphrodite Rebis (res bina) found in alchemical text that reconciles the spiritual and material (1). Gemini is a fluid and adaptable atmosphere for Venus, but can encourage a dispersing of energy in multiple directions that delays completion. As Venus gets closer and closer to its regenerative conjunction with the Sun on June 3, we may notice a burning away of inessential interests so we can focus on the essential tension we are working out.

Venus has essential dignity in the earth and water elements, finding delight singing  songs by water rippling through forests. Though Venus is out of its element in the air sign of Gemini, since Mercury enters its domicile of Gemini on May 11 it means that Venus will have a full arsenal of Mercurial resources at its disposal during the first stretch of its retrograde motion. As a result, it can be a profound period for artistic creation, especially when experimenting with new techniques and perspectives that may initially give strange results but ultimately helps nurture vital innovation. In particular, Venus retrograde combined with Mercury in Gemini can be potent for any creative work that utilizes the hands, the writing of words to convey meaning, the arrangement of colors and space, the singing of songs, and the harmonizing of sounds. Going for walks to ruminate on feelings, utilizing journaling and conversation to process feelings, and anything else that engages the airy nature of Gemini can be a helpful tool.

We can also expect Venus retrograde in Gemini to be an especially social and relational time, utilizing technology to forge connection even when maintaining social distancing practices related to the pandemic. There is also a dynamically restless side to Gemini forever searching for deeper meaning and connections, forever curious in its questioning of all things interconnected within our reality. The constellational image of the Twins, one mortal and one immortal, further reveals the underlying nature of Gemini that seeks its twin, its sense of a soul mate that is more deeply about its search to embody its authentic self. The magical mirror held by Venus retrograde can provide a glimpse of your dark, immortal twin and authentic aspects of your soulfulness that you can come into relationship with and begin to integrate during Venus retrograde.

Sidney_Hall_-_Urania's_Mirror_-_Taurus

Due to Venus being higher than normal in the night sky, we will have opportunities to make a wish upon the star of Aphrodite during the initial phase of Venus retrograde. Venus will be visually set against a legendary group of stars bearing particularly powerful and ancient star stories. Though in tropical Gemini, not only will the entirety of Venus retrograde take place in the sidereal sign of Taurus, her journey will be aligned with the image of the great Bull in the heavens. Venus will station retrograde on May 12 while visibly close to the star El Nath that is the tip of the Bull’s horn. Venus will then descend along the horn of the Bull until re-emerging in visibility near the star Aldebaran in the second week of June, the eye of the Bull that glows with its rosy red hue. Venus will ultimately station direct near the Hyades in the face of the Bull at the end of June, completing a full circuit of ascending to the top of the Bull’s horn before descending back into the head of the Bull.

El Nath, the Bull’s horn located at 22º35′ Gemini, has been described as symbolizing  “the force of the Bull” by Bernadette Brady and was described as having the nature of Mars by Ptolemy (2). It’s further notable that Venus will be stationing retrograde within the Egyptian bounds of Mars. The constellational image and story of the Bull is incredibly ancient and has been found painted on the walls of caves by our ancestors from an estimated period of 17,000 years ago. Not unlike how social distancing measures brought by the pandemic have brought a surge of wildlife and nature due to gaining greater space from the encroachment of humanity, Venus illuminating the tip of the Bull’s Horn reveals the importance of respecting the power of nature and coming into relationship with it. As a global civilization we are receiving this sky omen at a crucial crossroads in our collective history, as we are simultaneously needing to ask questions regarding our use of natural resources and the relationship between our civilizations with forces of nature.

Venus stationing retrograde on the Horn of the Bull also evokes the image of Hathor, a bestial goddess and bovine divinity known as the Lady of Heaven, the Lady of Horns, the Lady of All, and the Golden One in ancient Egyptian culture. Hathor is the sky goddess, the mother sky who emphasizes the fertile nourishment of the starry heavens above that is the source of All. Similar to other ancient goddesses, Hathor embodies the triple feminine form of daughter, lover, and mother without giving away her sovereignty to a male partner. Fascinatingly, soon after Venus stations retrograde the Hathor asteroid #2340 will enter Gemini on May 16 and will eventually form a conjunction with Venus retrograde at the same time it is being reborn in the sacred heart of the Sun. When Venus unites with the Sun at 13º35′ Gemini on June 3, the Hathor asteroid will be at 13º17′ Gemini. Further fitting for the rebirth of Venus, Hathor is also a fructifying goddess of rebirth and regeneration who took part in guiding the transition of souls into the afterlife.

Venus will also be stationing retrograde close to the zodiacal degree of prominent stars in the constellation of Orion, although it will not be nearly as visually close to Orion as it will be to the great Bull. One of the closest stars in Orion to the degree of Venus stationing is Mintaka in the belt of Orion (located at 22º24′ Gemini) a star that Ptolemy described as having the nature of Jupiter and Saturn. The other star in close proximity to the stationing degree of Venus is Bellatrix in the shoulder of Orion (located at 20º57′ Gemini), a star that Ptolemy described as having the nature of Mars and Mercury. Bellatrix is known as the Amazon star and has been described as possessing the power of a roaring conquerer, yet will also expose one’s shadow and difficult personal demons in the process of gaining victory (3). Reinhold Ebertin described Bellatrix as having characteristics of quickly realizing plans with “courage, fighting spirit, strategic talents” and “discrimination,” but that it can also bring “the reckless aggressiveness of a belligerent dare-devil” (4).

The star story of Orion from Greek myth bears further warning that taking hubristic action against nature will deliver a stinging downfall, as the great hunter Orion who boasted that he could kill any animal was ultimately killed by a giant scorpion sent by Gaia. In contrast, the star closest to the degree where Venus is stationing, Capella (21º51′ Gemini), embodies the image of a goat held by Auriga the charioteer, a figure who is in relationship with nature. In some traditions the goat revealed by Capella is Amalthea,  the goat who nursed Zeus when he was hidden and vulnerable so as to bring about the new order he would later initiate. Bernadette Brady stated that there are other ancient associations of Capella with Artemis and other goddesses, giving it a “nurturing but free-spirited flavour” that will seek independent freedom while remaining in right relationship with nature.

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Sappho (1888) by Alphonse Osbert

After Venus slowly moves backward during the second half of May, the star of Aphrodite will descend into an invisible phase of darkness at the end of May before re-emerging in its Morning Star phase in the second week of June. At the same time Venus is descending toward the Sun, the Sun will be moving toward uniting with Venus while stoking desires as the inner influence of Venus becomes intensified. During this period we can unearth buried emotions as part of the process of burning away whatever past issues need to be released. This makes the end of May a time for purifying and reseeding desires that will emerge more fully after Venus reemerges into visibility later in June.

Before Venus disappears, however, we will receive vital insight when Mercury in Gemini forms a conjunction with Venus during the New Moon in Gemini on May 22. Mercury will unite with Venus at the same time it is forming a square aspect with Neptune, triggering new developments in whatever storylines have been coinciding with the drawn out square between Venus and Neptune that began in the beginning of May. This can be another productive time for creative and artistic expression that can utilize the inspirational side of Neptune. We will also be more capable of giving voice to the inner changes in values and desires that have started to take shape with Venus retrograde, though the square from Neptune suggests we will not yet have clarity regarding them.

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Vision (1892) by Alphonse Osbert

“The protected space at the heart of the Sun is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.”

— Demetra George, Ancient Astrology

On June 3 we will experience the rebirth of Venus when it is reanimated through its union with the Sun at 13º35′ Gemini. Venus in the heart of the Sun is enthroned in revivifying solar light, and as the star of Aphrodite begins to emerge from its purifying solar conjunction we can begin to gain a clearer sense of our own inner metamorphosis that has been in process. It will be worthwhile to reflect upon the placement of 13º35′ Gemini in your natal chart to gain a sense of what areas of your life may be especially impacted by the renewal of Venus in the first week of June. Moreover, since there will also be a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse at 15º34′ Sagittarius on June 5, the full polarity of Gemini and Sagittarius will be incredibly activated in the first week of June at the same time that the transiting lunar nodes are firmly establishing themselves in Gemini and Sagittarius.

Crucially, Mars in Pisces will form an intensifying square aspect with Venus in Gemini on June 2, a day before Venus forms its inferior conjunction with the Sun.  The waxing square aspect between Venus and Mars is one of the many volatile astrological relationships we must come to terms with during 2020, as they previously formed their first square aspect on January 26 and they will form their third and final waxing square aspect on September 4 when Mars will be stationing retrograde. With Mars applying heat in the exaltation of Venus, their contact on June 2 is likely to be eventful and incite potent passions. Since Mars is also applying toward a conjunction with Neptune, there will be an unveiling of illusions as well as rediscovery of imaginal possibilities within relationships.  While the square between Mars and Venus can bring conflict, the simmering tension of their friction can also draw out new desires into sharper relief that can help us align with our authentic path as we trek deeper into the retrograde movement of Venus in June.

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Muse at Sunrise (1918) by Alphones Osbert

Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot  /  and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing  /  on the black earth. But I say it is  /  what you love.

— Sappho (translated by Anne Carson)

In the second week of June we will be initiated into the Morning Star phase of Venus as it will reemerge into visibility near the zodiacal degree of Aldebaran, the great eye of the Bull. There will be an eruptive potency to this time period with revivified passions and desires ready to be engaged with. Venus in its Morning Star phase is more assertive and outwardly directed, and we will likewise feel more interested in going after what we want. Due to Venus continuing to move slowly in its retrograde motion, however, it will be beneficial to continue reflecting on the changing shapes of desires as they will be continuing to coalesce into new forms in coming weeks.

There will be an intense astrological atmosphere surrounding the emergence of Venus in its Morning Star phase, as there will be an extremely powerful Solar Eclipse at 00º21′ Cancer on June 20, only five days before Venus will station direct on June 25. Furthermore, Mercury will station retrograde in Cancer on June 17 a few days before the Solstice Solar Eclipse.  As a result, the normal turning points in narratives that emerge when Venus stations to change directions will be amplified due to it occurring in the middle of an eclipse season that contains the added volatility of Mercury being in its retrograde phase.

Venus will station direct on June 25 at 5º20′ Gemini and will barely be moving forward in the beginning of July when we will experience another Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 4. Since the end of June and beginning of July hosts another phase of extremely volatile astrology, it reveals the vital importance of letting the retrograde descent of Venus have its way with you so that you may shed whatever is ready to be emptied. On the other side of Venus retrograde we may not only have a lighter heart and renewed vigor, we may also feel more aligned with our essential values and focused on following our authentic desires forward into the great unknown.

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Aphrodite and goose (ca. 460 BC)

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References

(1) Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: the Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

(2) Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.

(3) Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

(4) Ebertin – Hoffman. (1973). Fixed Stars and their interpretation. Translated by Irmgard Banks.

(5) George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

(6) Sappho translated by Anne Carson. (2002). If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho. Vintage.

 

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Hathor cow woman

Hathor Menat (1390–1352 B.C. Egypt)

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Mercury will retrograde in Taurus, the home of Venus, from April 28 through May 22.  Mercury when moving direct through the zodiac is known as a swiftly moving planet of mental connections, discernment, and expression.  Yet the protean nature of Mercury is revealed in its variable speed, as it slows down considerably during its thrice yearly retrograde phase and correspondingly shifts our perceptual perspicacity.  Despite misconceptions in popular culture, Mercury Retrograde is not a time to fear but is instead an essential aspect of Mercury and how we interpret and convey meaning from our experience in life.  During Mercury Retrograde we experience a purifying regeneration of Mercury, and as this particular retrograde occurs in Taurus, we will be immersing ourselves within our bodily realm, discovering how our senses and instincts create our reality. A wealth of supportive aspects to Mercury arise during this retrograde by Venus, Jupiter, Pluto, Chiron, and the lunar nodes, suggesting a soulful windfall can be excavated when exploring the darkness of inner recesses.

Our perception that Mercury is retrograde is rooted in the phenomenon of Mercury’s orbit around our Sun, as Mercury Retrograde always occurs when Mercury passes between our Earth and our Sun in its orbit.  This particular retrograde is very special, as the pièce de résistance is a Mercury transit of the Sun in which Mercury can be seen crossing the fiery face of our Solar Light, as close as Mercury can get to eclipsing the Sun.  As this special inferior conjunction of Mercury conjoins the heliocentric South Node of Mercury, is trine to the transiting North Node of the Moon, and occurs while Jupiter is simultaneously stationing direct in a trine to Mercury and the Sun, the heart of this Mercury Retrograde is fecund with primal potency. One theme will be an uncovering of the inner values that bring us the most alive in our sensual world and to which we can devote ourselves in order to not merely survive but thrive.

While recalibration of inner values will be a theme on a personal level, in the collective with Mercury retrograde in Taurus and forming trines with both Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo, Mercury’s lordship of commerce and mercantile systems will result in significant economic contracts and mergers between various key economic players enacted.  Moreover, significant revelations will come to the forefront regarding economic deals and relationships that had previously been hidden. The impact of collective economic forces on one’s personal life will depend on where one finds themselves within the rising and falling of collective fortune, but this Mercury retrograde nonetheless opens a space to reappraise your flow and organization of finances and the returns you have been receiving on your investment of energy.

On a personal level, the slow steady pace of Mercury through Taurus is opportune for patiently grounding awareness in your surrounding material manifestations and their connection with the values you have been prioritizing your life around.  It will be most fruitful to ask yourself the tough questions and be brutally honest with yourself about the values you have actually been focused upon rather than the values you enjoy talking about or pretending you live from.  Taurus is about survival, and through this retrograde Mercury can guide us into revealing what we have thought we needed for survival versus what is truly nourishing for ourselves on a soul level and requires a commitment to living from with integrity.

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Hermes Ingenui (Roman copy of 5th Century B.C. Greek)

Men have made me variously keeper of the dawn, of twilight and the wind, have called me Argeiphantes, he who makes clear the sky, and Logios, the sweet-tongued one, have dubbed me trickster, the patron of gamblers and all manner of mountebanks, have appointed me the guardian of crossroads, protector of travelers, have conferred on me the grave title Psychopomps, usher of the freed souls of men to Pluto’s netherworld. For I am Hermes, son of old Zeus and Maia the cavewoman.

— John Banville, The Infinities, p. 14

Star of Hermes

Mercury was known as the Star of Hermes to the ancients who developed what we now call Hellenistic Astrology, and the innumerable significations of the mythic Hermes illuminate our understanding of the astrological Mercury:  Winged messenger of the Gods, God of crossroads, boundaries and thresholds, Guide of Souls, Shepherd of flocks, God of commerce and merchants, Prince of thieves, and the friendly trickster who reveals truths through concealing truth at times, offering unexpected fortune and loss.  When Mercury disappears at sunset with a flash of light after stationing retrograde, transitioning from being an Evening Star to becoming invisible under the purifying beams of the Sun, Mercury guides us into a subterranean realm of perception in which he plays the part of a Soul Guide.

Mercury slowly shifting retrograde, symbolically descending into the invisible underworld, marks a threshold into a liminal space of past identities and perceptual patterns altering to open awareness to vital change and a presence in sync with authentically arising inner life.  Though popular culture tells us to avoid buying anything or signing any contracts when Mercury is retrograde, it is in fact possible to initiate significant action that will not only be beneficial but deeply resonate with one’s Soul.  As Mercury retrograde redirects the functions of Mercury from outward projection to becoming inwardly receptive with our body and unconscious, it is vital to be mindful of how your intuition and inner voice is guiding you.  If the sound of a new venture is bringing inner doubt, this is the type of new endeavor to avoid.  If a new venture instead brings a harmonizing vibration that feels naturally fulfilling, if signs of synchronicity point to the new endeavor being a soulful calling, then this is exactly the type of new project or relationship whose initiation will bring a bountiful boon.

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Hathor Mirror (1479–1425 B.C. Egypt)

Mirrors: no one who’s tried to solve you
has yet unlocked your true being.
You, openings in time, its course filled
as if with endless sieve holes.

You, perpetual spendthrifts of the empty hall-,
when dusk approaches, deep as woods . . .
And there the chandelier, like a sixteen-pointer,
leaps your unbreathable divide.

Sometimes you are full of painting.
A few seem to have passed straight into you-,
others you shyly sent away.

But the one loveliest woman will remain
before you, -till across into her untouched cheeks
the clear released Narcissus penetrates.

–Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus translated by Edward Snow

Mercury in the home of Venus

With Mercury retrograde in the home of Venus, the mirror of Aphrodite shall reflect our current state of being as well as open a portal to the potential of our Self.  Mercury retrograde periods often bring up the past for resolution, yet can also facilitate a crossing of the threshold that demarcates a new dimension of experience.  Mirroring will illuminate our inner issues most in need of reflection and resolution through the mirror of outer relationships and events, and insight into the illusion we call reality will be revealed.    Going within the etheric field of bodily senses, this Mercury Retrograde in Taurus will metamorphose and reconstruct our inner magnetism that attracts relationships to us, supporting us aligning with more soulfully supportive partners through inner work rather than outer striving.

A day after Mercury stations retrograde, Venus enters her home of Taurus where she stays for the rest of the retrograde and will give strong Venusian support to Mercury.  Hermes in myth is bound to the fertility of nature and sexuality, and similarly as Mercury retrograde pulls us inward into our corporeal senses in the domicile of Venus, desire for sensual pleasures and hedonistic delights of the flesh will arise.  Self-love and making nourishment of optimal well-being in the body through diet, exercise, and luxuriating in the scent of flowery enrapture will be a beneficial balm for whatever worrisome events occur during the Mercury Retrograde.   This Mercury retrograde in the receptive and earthy sign of Venus will viscerally reveal the myriad ways in which we find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties.

When Venus enters Taurus she immediately enters a conjunction with the asteroid Hathor (asteroid #2340), the asteroid that is named for the Lady of Heaven, Lady of Horns, Lady of All.  Hathor is the womb found in the stars, the living, fertile sky that is the source of All. Hathor embodies the triple goddess aspect of mother, lover, and daughter, but is not a goddess fixated on the needs of a partner or sustaining a relationship with an Other.  Venus uniting with Hathor in Taurus as Mercury descends into the underworld at the beginning of its retrograde amplifies the focus on the inner side of Venus that is not outwardly obsessed with relationship, revitalizing our sense of inner needs for joy.  Further fitting for Mercury retrograde, Hathor is a fructifying goddess of rebirth and regeneration, who like Hermes took part in guiding the transition of Souls into the afterlife and here points toward the needs of the Soul gaining greater prominence over the needs of the conscious personality.

Fascinatingly, Mercury stations retrograde while conjoining the asteroid Vesta in Taurus, another significator of devotedly turning focus within rather than being consumed with the needs and expectations of relationship.  Vesta is not virginal in a sexual sense, however, and heralds an opening to sacred sexuality and the reception of spirit in the senses through its union with stationing Mercury.  Nonetheless, since independence and self-reliance outside of partnership is paramount to  Vesta, the conjunction between Vesta with stationing Mercury suggests the inward pull of Hermes will destabilize any co-dependent tendencies occurring in order to help anchor perception into one’s true inner needs and desires.

Mercury also stations while conjoining the blinking, fixed star Algol.  Algol is known as the Head of Medusa and the Head of the Demon, a fixed star associated with the extremities of emotion, whether that be through a voracious sexual union, the velocity of passion poured into a creative outlet, or the intensity of outraged anger.  Again, while this aspect can go along with strong sensual immersion in sexuality, a link with Algol does not signify precedence given to the maintenance of a relationship.  Once again this is a sign of the primal needs of the Self taking precedence, and that the initial focus of this Mercury retrograde is to realign with inner needs outside the expectations of current relationship.

Paint a perfect picture
Bring to life a vision in one’s mind
The beautiful ones
Always smash the picture
Always every time

— Prince, “The Beautiful Ones” from Purple Rain

Though the demonizing of Mercury Retrograde in popular culture can go overboard with projections of negativity, there can be vexing and extremely frustrating experiences with communication and becoming overwhelmed with challenges and setbacks during the backward, trickster movement of Mercury.  With Mercury retrograde in the Fixed sign of Taurus, it is more than likely that we can become quite Bull-headed in our perspective, solidly sustaining a stubborn stance in resistance of changes that threaten our sense of inner security.  Though this Mercury Retrograde never forms a major aspect with the Mars Retrograde concurrently happening, Mercury Retrograde does station retrograde in exact polarity to the degree of Scorpio that Mars will station direct at in the end of June.  Furthermore, when Mercury stations retrograde in Taurus, its ruler Venus is at the end of Aries in the sign of Mars.  The inner fire of Mars Retrograde that burns off the inessential, combined with the Mercury Retrograde absorption into our perceptual core senses, will open stored memories in need of processing that underlie the desires we are consciously working out in the Mars Retrograde.

yaroslav forest

by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me,remember me

—e.e. cummings

Memory moves Mercury.  Indeed, Hermes in the myth of his origin enchanted Apollo with a song eulogizing Mnemosyne, Titanesss of Memory and Mother of Muses, played on the lyre he invented from a tortoise shell.  Memories held in the body, the memory of an ideal consummation sustained in the sensual folds of our mind, will rise to awareness in the retrograde rumination of Mercury. Memories allow us to revisit faded fields of passion and sorrow, and though the tactile faculties of our mind can allow the glow of a memory to override full presence in the moment, significant memories in need of processing will make themselves known during the sluggish retrograde of Mercury.  We will not be able to resist certain memories in need of replaying in our minds during this retrograde, but we can do the inner work necessary to transform the possessive side of Taurus that can become overly attached to nostalgia rather than opening to the changes underway.

The Mercurial function turned inward in the instinctual sign of Taurus will facilitate our diverse senses taking predominance in the making of meaning over our rational mind, including those sensitivities labeled psychic for want of a clearer term. Just as Mercury in alchemy conjoins the animating spirit with the earthly body, the prima materia of our full bodily presence will bring nonverbal insight into the world-creating spirit concealed in material forms.  Just as Hermes was born in a cave, just as subterranean caves were the temples of our ancestors where Spirit was received in the flesh, so will we descend to the subconscious place where tomb meets womb and where the death of the past gives rise to a reborn consciousness.

Since Mercury retrograde in Taurus is ruled by the transiting Venus, it is vital to reflect upon the significance that Venus in Taurus will be under the beams of the Sun during the retrograde, getting closer each day to her eventual union with our Solar Light.  Adam Gainsburg in his book The Light of Venus called the phase Venus is in with the Sun during the Mercury Retrograde “Immersion,” stating it is the period in the Heroine’s Journey in which “The Queen of Heaven is pulled away from the world by an inward force, and prepares to rediscover Her divine essence from within.”  As we unearth deeply held memories in the body of our essentiality, we can stop hiding our feelings and shift to a space of directly going after what we want and living from our authentic feelings.  In these ways the Mercury retrograde in the survival-focused sign of Taurus can help build greater self-reliance and resiliency.

Remedios Varo solar music

Musica Solar by Remedies Varo

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

The REBIRTH of Mercury that occurs during its retrograde through Taurus is not your everyday Inferior Conjunction of Mercury, but rather is the legendary Transit of Mercury that only occurs about thirteen times every century.  The Transit of Mercury is similar to Mercury eclipsing our Sun, except Mercury from our perspective is far too small to come anywhere close to the blackening effect the Moon makes upon the Sun during an eclipse.  Just as the Moon has nodes, and the nodes are the zodiac degrees that mark where eclipses occur, so do all of the planets possess nodes.  The Inferior Conjunction of Mercury occurs on 9 May 2016 at 19°25′ Taurus, which is within a degree of the Heliocentric South Node of Mercury.  The last time the Transit of Mercury happened was in November 2006 when it occurred in Scorpio conjoining the North Node of Mercury, and the next time it will occur will be in November 2019 when it will also be conjoining the North Node of Mercury.

There is an interesting aspect to the Heliocentric planetary nodes in which the North Node of Mars and South Node of Mercury are both in Taurus around nineteen degrees.  With Mars retrograde occurring simultaneously, the heart of this particular Mercury Retrograde activates the full arc of the Mercury and Mars archetypes. The North Node ascent for Mars in Taurus points toward self-reliance and centering within one’s essential values, having the patience and fortitude to live from a core place of integrity rather than losing touch with one’s authenticity through external entanglements and desires.  In contrast, the South Node of Mercury being Taurus reveals inner senses, bodily instincts, sensory impressions, and memories as being the source of the Mercury archetype.  There are very supportive aspects surrounding Mercury when it enters the heart of the Sun, as it is in trine to Pluto in Capricorn, in sextile to the South Node of the Moon and Chiron in Pisces, and in trine to the North Node of the Moon and Jupiter in Virgo: open without resistance to what is arising from within and discover what Hermes has left for you.

MercuryCazimiWRIGC1

When Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun it is directly in between the orbit of Earth with the Sun, signifying a magical moment of new conception for Mercurial functions.  Once Mercury gets to be a degree away from the Sun on either side, we arrive at the potent time of cazimi in which the significations of Mercury are fortified in the purifying solar rays.  This is a beautiful time to initiate new growth or simply meditate or attune within, so plan accordingly if possible for May 9.  This particular union of Mercury with the Sun is even more auspicious because Venus in Taurus is applying toward a conjunction with Mercury when it enters the heart of the Sun, and Jupiter is also stationing direct simultaneously in the home of Mercury in range of a trine to Mercury.

Jupiter stationing direct at this time holds a thread with the previous Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn that occurred in January 2016, as Jupiter stationed retrograde at that time.  The Jupiter retrograde from January 8 – May 9, 2016 has brought opportunities to realign with inner, personal truth, and so this magical moment of Mercury will also illuminate our present sense of Jupiter vision and meaning.  In the collective, one omen of this period has been the death of two Mercurial Geniuses of Music and the Muses:  David Bowie and Prince.

man ray plume

Plume (1942) by Man Ray

Mercury Stations Direct

After Mercury begins to slowly retrograde away from its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun, it begins to transition into its Morning Star phase which will commence around the time that Mercury stations direct on 22 May 2016.  In between Mercury’s union with the Sun on May 9 and its stationing direct on May 22, there is a distinctly powerful timeframe around May 12 and May 13 when Venus unites with Mercury retrograde in Taurus while simultaneously forming an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn (with Jupiter and the North Node in Virgo not too far away in Virgo to create a Grand Earth Trine).  This period will be full of important messages to decipher concerning the culminating meaning found within Mercury’s retrograde in the domicile of Venus.

When Mercury arises from the underworld with a flash of light at Dawn, the sibyls of Hermes transmit a message to receive as Mercury switches roles into that of a day-focused herald intent on clarifying goals in the light of the Sun.  With unbelievable synchronicity, Mercury stations direct on the same day that Mars enters the heart of its retrograde cycle, being exactly opposite the Sun.  Furthermore, the day before this eventful stationing day, there will be a Full Moon at the 1-2 degree of Sagittarius that hits immediately after the Sun enters Gemini, the solar home of Mercury.  All together, this means that both the Moon and Mercury are bringing indescribable levels of intensity to the meaning found in the heart of this Mars Retrograde cycle: the lesson to be learned, the message to receive, will be impossible to miss.

The period following Mercury stationing direct, when Mercury gains traction in its rousing rooster role of Morning Star, is full of the type of epic astrological aspects that demarcate defining shifts in the collective narrative.  Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius form an exact last quarter square on May 26, four days after the Winged Messenger stations direct, and this last quarter square also involves Neptune in Pisces forming an opposition to Jupiter as well as a last quarter square with Saturn.  This t-square between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune signifies an extraordinary change in collective consciousness that will be deeply felt on a personal level, and could very well provoke a sense of crisis. However, the larger message found within these aspects is a reorientation to the authentic trajectory your life can take in the next five years and beyond.  As a result, the Mercury Retrograde in Taurus serves as a vital inner recalibration to the massive change happening.

Finally, the Hathor asteroid again surfaces in prominence in the week leading up to Mercury stationing direct, conjoining the retrograde Mercury around May 16 -17, 2016.  Remembering that Hathor entered Taurus just as Mercury stationed retrograde and initially was moving along closely with Venus, it is compelling that Hathor and Mercury get closer together throughout the retrograde and finally make their exchange in the period leading up to the stationing direct.  The synchronicity of the Hathor asteroid weaving herself significantly within this potent Mercury Retrograde delights me more than words can express in this article.  No matter the grief and suffering you may be enduring at the moment in reflection of everything that has not gone the way you have desired, the presence of Hathor with this Mercury retrograde augurs that joy and exuberance can once again be embodied if you align with the movements opened up by the thrice great trickster and Psychopomp, Mercury.

He whose desire turns away from outer things, reaches the place of the soul. If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him, and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and again in a desperate endeavor and a blind desire for the hollow things of the world. He becomes a fool through his endless desire, and forgets the way of his soul, never to find her again. He will run after all things, and will seize hold of them, but he will not find his soul, since he would find her only in himself. Truly his soul lies in things and men, but the blind one seizes things and men, yet not his soul in things and men. He has no knowledge of his soul. How could he tell her apart from things and men? He could find his soul in desire itself, but not in the objects of desire. If he possessed his desire, and his desire did not possess him, he would lay a hand on his soul, since his desire is the image and expression of his soul.

–Carl Jung, from The Red Book: Liber Novus

References

Banville, John. (2009). The Infinities. Alfred A. Knopf.

cummings, e.e. (1994). Selected Poems. Liveright.

Gainsburg, Adam. (2012). The Light of Venus.  Soulsign.

Jung, Carl. (2009). The Red Book: Liber Novus. Edited by Sonu Shamdasani. Norton.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.