Mercury Retrograde in Gemini & Taurus

Gold ring with Hermes (late 4th century B.C.)

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

To tell the beauty would decrease, / To state the Spell demean, / There is a syllableless sea / Of which it is the sign.

My will endeavors for its word / And fails, but entertains / A rapture as of legacies- / Of introspective mines.

Emily Dickinson

Ever ready and restless, slippery and sinuous, Hermes is usually imagined as constantly on the move in between places and thoughts, making the necessary connection at the same time his sleight of hand trickiness takes something away. Yet when the star of Hermes stations retrograde, the stillness of Mercury magnifies mindfulness more so than movement and activates wordless revelation rather than wordiness. Synchronicities, signs, and omens take center stage when Mercury stations retrograde, as the pause in the fleet footed messenger’s movement typically delivers vital messages to guide our entrance into a liminal portal of time that can bring about major revisions in storylines. As Mercury will station retrograde in Gemini in between eclipses that activate the radical tension between Uranus and Saturn, the intensification of Mercury’s presence will facilitate attuning to how to most effectively flow and adapt to the life changes emerging from an especially potent eclipse season.

Mercury will station retrograde on May 10, embarking upon a three-week journey in which the star of Hermes will backtrack from 4°52’ Gemini until stationing direct at 26°05’ Taurus on June 3. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from twenty-six degrees of Taurus to five degrees of Gemini, personal material in need of deeper engagement will become excavated, bringing opportunities for insight that can catalyze significant growth and foster breaking out of stuck patterns. As part of the process, however, we may need to return to longstanding issues in need of release, reworking, or reintegration. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification that will be especially intense leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun on May 21, we may experience renewal on the other side as Mercury returns to forward motion in the beginning of June. Mercury first crossed 26°05’ Taurus on April 26 and will not move beyond 4°52’ Gemini until June 18, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

When Mercury stations retrograde he descends from view as an Evening Star following sunset into an invisible phase during which he takes on an underworld role of psychopomp, dredging up whatever issues need our attention. Mercury’s stationing always demarcates an important shift in storylines, however this time it will be taking place during a time period especially ripe for groundbreaking change due to Jupiter entering Aries on the same day that Mercury stations retrograde. Jupiter’s entrance into Aries on May 10 means that the star of Zeus will no longer be inhabiting his nocturnal, watery home of Pisces where he can sink deeply into imaginative, boundless vision. The borderline between Pisces and Aries is perhaps the most catalytic in the tropical zodiac, due to zero degrees of Aries demarcating the intersection between the celestial equator of our planet with the ecliptic. It’s a point of dramatic change and material manifestation, and so with Jupiter entering the first degree of Aries we can expect the changes that have been building in the background to take form as we also experience a speeding up of events.

Fortunately, Mercury is stationing retrograde in one of the most potent sections of the zodiac for the star of Hermes. Within the first five degrees of Gemini, Mercury possesses four out of the five essential dignities for planets: domicile, triplicity, bounds, and decanic dignity. The quicksilver connectedness of Mercury stationing here is ideal for carefully minding the ingress of Jupiter into Aries, surveying the scene for all of the signs and synchronicities mixing and intermingling in surrounding landscapes. Mercury retrograde in Gemini holds vast potential for turning over every facet of the experiences emerging, looking at events from every angle possible, polishing thoughts through rumination and careful contemplation. As Jupiter’s entrance into Aries kindles the fire needed to take a propulsive leap forward, Mercury will tease and probe with a mindful presence ready to peer under the surface of appearances and flexibly facilitate the necessary mutations and shifts.

Mercury (ca. 1538) by Andrea Schiavone

In Between

“Give, and it shall be given unto you / is still the truth about life. / But giving life is not so easy. / It doesn’t mean handing it out to just some mean fool, or / letting the living dead eat you up. / It means kindling the life-quality where it was not, / even if it’s only in the whiteness of a washed pocket-handkerchief.”

from “We Are Transmitters-” by D.H. Lawrence

After Mercury stations retrograde on May 10, the star of Hermes will slowly shift into backwards motion while applying toward an invigorating sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries that will become exact on May 19. While the collaborative sextile aspect between Mercury and Jupiter can facilitate harmonious growth, it will be taking shape during an extremely volatile astrological period. In between the stationing of Mercury and its exact sextile with Jupiter there will be a total Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio on May 15 that will be forming an intensifying square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius. As the previous Solar Eclipse in Taurus was conjoining Uranus, the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse catalyzing Saturn means that this particular pair of eclipses hold immense potential for unleashing pivotal turning points in storylines that change everything. As a result, the building sextile between Mercury and Jupiter can help guide awareness to release what needs releasing and reorder what needs reordering as we undergo a period of accelerated chaotic change within collective and personal events.

Notably, Mercury will be entering its most intense phase of putrefaction and regeneration as the Moon turns blood red during the Scorpio eclipse. As Mercury gets closer and closer to its purifying conjunction with the Sun on May 21, the increasing proximity between Mercury and the Sun will amplify the capacity of Mercury to burn off aspects of personal patterns that need to be let go so that we can find our way to a more vibrant and renewed presence on the other side of the Mercury retrograde period. Mercury can help in attending to whatever issues become stirred up by the eclipses so that we can better understand how to situate ourselves within whatever life changes we are experiencing. Although the symptoms of larger changes taking shape may feel intensely disruptive, Mercury retrograde in Gemini can help unearth and understand the information found within the symptoms that increase awareness for the inner parts and issues of ourselves that need our attention so that we may more fluidly adapt to the external shifts occurring.

It’s further significant that Mercury will ultimately station direct on June 3 while forming a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius as well as an opposition to the degree of the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse. As a result, whatever issues of personal boundaries emerge with the activation of Saturn by the eclipse will be especially important to pay attention to, as Mercury will ultimately bring us back into an intense encounter with Saturn at the end of its retrograde. Mercury’s retrograde journey has the potential to help us regenerate boundaries within our personal relationships so that they maintain a healthy protectiveness while also remaining capable of flexibly shifting as needed. However, since Mars will be applying toward a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces during the eclipse, we may need to pass through a phase of amorphous fluidity in which personal boundaries and structures mutate before coming into more solid form once Mercury ends its retrograde journey in the earthy, fixed sign of Taurus.

In between the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse on May 15 and the purifying conjunction between the Sun and Mercury on May 21, Mercury will be empowered to help us empty and let go of whatever needs to be released so that we have more space available for an influx of new developments and growth instigated by Uranus, the Sun, and the North Node of the Moon being together in Taurus. At the same time that Mercury will form its harmonious sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries on May 19, there will also be a conjunction between Mars and Neptune in Pisces on May 17 and a flowing trine between the Sun in Taurus with Pluto in Capricorn on May 19. Altogether these aspects can help us work with the powerful mental facility available with Mercury retrograde in Gemini so that we may find the thread to follow through the volatile changes occurring that will lead us to a more authentic and inspiring path moving forward. While some elements of life may need to be sacrificed as part of the process, the active connectivity of Mercury in Gemini will be a great aid in bridging between the known and the unknown.

Pleiades (1885) by Elihu Vedder

Son of the Seven Sisters

Not knowing when the dawn will come / I open every door; / Or has it feathers like a bird, / Or billows like a shore?

“Dawn” by Emily Dickinson

Mercury will be reanimated by uniting with the Sun on May 21. The reseeding of Mercury in solar light occurs as Mercury aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead in which it will transition into becoming a visible Morning Star. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.”

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at 00°43’ Gemini near the projected zodiacal degree of Alcyone, the brightest star within the Pleiades star cluster. In the birth story of Hermes told in the Homeric hymn, Mercury is the child of Zeus and Maia, one of the seven sisters of the Pleiades: “Maia, the modest daughter of Atlas, bore [Hermes] after joining in love with Zeus. The company of the blessed gods she shunned, and she dwelled in a shadowy cave where the son of Kronos used to lie with the fair-tressed Nymph in the dark of night . . . and neither immortals nor mortal men knew of it.” The secrecy of the affair between Maia and Zeus that gave birth to Hermes reflects the mysterious secrecy of Mercury during its reanimation by the Sun. It’s important to make space to sift through thoughts and feelings and allow the deeper meaning of insights to emerge in unexpected directions. Mercury becoming reborn in such a powerful place for the star of Hermes has enormous potential for reseeding ideas and visions we will be able to carry forward with our work and presence long into the future. The Pleiades influencing Mercury can open portals of perception into insights formerly hidden from awareness, insights we may continue to clarify until Mercury eventually returns to visibility as a Morning Star in the beginning of June.

There are several supportive astrological aspects surrounding the inferior conjunction of Mercury that portend positive growth and integration eventually emerging from whatever internal process we engage with. Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun is forming a harmonious sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries, while at the same time Venus in Aries is forming a sextile with Saturn in Aquarius and Mars in Pisces is forming a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn. While Jupiter and Venus together in Aries can inspire leaps of desires and accelerating toward goals and dreams, the intensification of Mercury retrograde in Gemini reveals that a deepening into full presence is required in order to comprehend the larger implications of our present growth process, seeing through appearances into the heart of the matter.

And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur by Leonora Carrington,

Mercury Stationing in Taurus

And again my inmost life rushes louder, / as if it moved now between steeper banks. / Objects become ever more related to me, / and all pictures ever more perused. / I feel myself more trusting in the nameless: / with my senses, as with birds, I reach / into the windy heavens from the oak, / and into the small ponds’ broken-off day / my feeling sinks, as if it stood on fishes.

“Progress” by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Edward Snow

Mercury will move backwards into Taurus on May 22. A day later on May 23 there will be an exact sextile aspect between Mercury retrograde in Taurus with Mars at the final degree of Pisces, just before Mars enters Aries on May 24. Simultaneously, the Gemini Sun will be in an exact sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries. Altogether, especially due to the ingress of Mars into Aries on May 24, the return of Mercury into Taurus will take place within an astrological climate otherwise indicating a speeding up of events and acceleration of storylines. Mercury’s time in Taurus is thus fascinating due to the sign of Taurus slowing down the tempo of Taurus on top of the fact that Mercury will be literally slowing down in speed in order to station direct in stillness on June 3.

Mercury’s movement into Taurus is further important due to Mercury no longer being sovereign in his own domicile of Gemini and instead occupying the home of Venus. Venus will initially be in Aries and passing through a supportive sextile aspect with Saturn in Aquarius when Mercury enters her earthy domicile of Taurus, creating an opportunity to perceive what lesson that Saturn has in store for Mercury as Mercury heads into a catalyzing square aspect with Saturn. Less than a week later on May 28, Venus will join Mercury in her home of Taurus and as a result will be able to supply her full arsenal of pleasurable, creative, and artistic resources for Mercury to engage with. Mercury’s movement through Taurus will slow down the pace of mental pursuits and focus minds on more practical and tangible concerns, such as how to reorganize and restructure whatever material and relational concerns have been undergoing a metamorphosis. Making the process incredibly deep will be the presence of Pluto, as Mercury will form a flowing trine aspects with Pluto in Capricorn on May 25 (the trine between Mercury retrograde with Pluto is the second of a three part sequence: the first was on April 28 when Mercury was direct and the third will be on June 10 after Mercury shifts back into direct motion).

The week after Mercury backtracks into Taurus will bring a major shift in movement: on May 29 there will be a conjunction between Jupiter and Mars in Aries one day before there is a New Moon in Gemini on May 30. The Gemini New Moon will announce the stationing of Mercury, as the star of Hermes will be barely moving during the lunation and saturating the astrological atmosphere with his presence due to simultaneously returning to visibility as a Morning Star during his heliacal rise at dawn. A few days later Mercury will station direct on June 3 at 26°05’ Taurus while forming a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius and in range of an imaginative sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces. Moreover, Saturn will also be stationing retrograde at 25°15’ Aquarius on June 4. Thus the end of May and beginning of June is a time for making it real and bringing into form whatever changes have been brewing as both Mercury and Saturn take on an amplified presence at the same time they will be catalyzing changes through their square aspect. Saturn will bring its penetrating gaze to bear upon whatever work and plans that Mercury has been developing. Knowing this ahead of time, be prepared to face and pass the tests and challenges you can expect Saturn to bring. It’s a powerful moment for bringing the unmanifest into manifestation and initiating the work needed to build a strong foundation of support for future growth.

A week after Mercury stations direct the star of Hermes will still be in the sign of the Bull at the same time a liberating conjunction will take place between Venus and Uranus in Taurus on June 11. Since Mercury will still be in the domicile of Venus and beginning to pick up speed during this time, the union of Venus with Uranus will accelerate developments with dynamic power that may feel volatile while also full of emancipatory propulsion. There will be a lot of empowerment for growth available to utilize due to Mercury simultaneously passing through his final flowing trine aspect with Pluto on June 10. As a result, we can expect the stationing direct of Mercury and shift into forward momentum to unleash major currents of change once Mercury begins to pick up speed and begins to distance himself from the presence of Saturn.

Silver ring with Hermes (late 5th Century BC)

Gemini Returning

Mercury will return to his airy home of Gemini on June 13, a day before the Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 14. Mercury will then reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on June 16 at the third degree of Gemini a couple of days after the Sagittarius Full Moon, a few degrees away from where he formed his inferior conjunction on May 21. The maximum elongation of Mercury demarcates another threshold to cross, as it initiates us into the phase of Mercury speeding up as well as accelerating our capacity for integrating the many inner changes that took shape during the retrograde. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being.

As a result, the slivery Sagittarius Full Moon on June 14 will announce the return of Mercury to his swift, direct motion as a Morning Star in which he excels at making mental connections, asking questions, and bridging ideas and material resources. As the Sagittarius Full Moon will be forming a sextile aspect with Saturn in Aquarius and a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, it will interestingly aspect the same two planets that Mercury did when it stationed direct on June 3. When Saturn and Neptune become activated we need to reconcile the dream with the reality, and so Mercury in Gemini will help in attuning with whatever changes have been happening and the adjustments that will need to be made to securely ground developing visions into tangible forms.

Mercury will move past the zodiacal degree where he originally stationed retrograde on June 18, a couple of days before the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere. As we collectively cross one of the most important turning points of the year, Mercury moving quickly direct in Gemini will be able to draw upon the many lessons learned over the course of the past month of retrograde movement to help us reorient and plan for the season ahead. With an easy ear, loquacious lift, and ready response, Hermes will once again, as always, be present to help humanity as we collectively cross yet another crossroads.

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References

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation. (2004). Edited and translated by S.M. trzaskoma, R.S. Smith, and S. Brunet. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

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

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

Solar Eclipse in Gemini

Play Shadow by Leonora Carrington

“I hazard the explanation that a shock is at once in my case followed by the desire to explain it. I feel that I have had a blow; but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words. It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together. Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we- I mean all human beings- are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself. And I see this when I have a shock.”

— Virginia Woolf from A Sketch of the Past (born with Mercury square Neptune and Jupiter)

Solar Eclipse in Gemini

Solar eclipses turn the golden Sun black and bring a liminal space of night into day, the kind of paradoxical puzzle that delights the nimble mindset of Gemini and its curiously ingenious ruler Mercury. The Gemini Solar Eclipse on June 10 is an annular eclipse, creating the visual effect of a “ring of fire” due to the Moon’s shadow only partially covering the face of the Sun and leaving a halo of fiery light surrounding the blackened Sun. Eclipses can bring pivotal endings and new beginnings within relationships and storylines, and this will be especially the case if you have important natal placements impacted by the eclipse taking place at 19°47′ Gemini. Yet due to Mercury being retrograde and applying closely to a conjunction with the eclipse at 20°41′ Gemini, Mercury will be in position to guide all of us into the fertile, black void of the eclipse in order to experience a deeply cathartic regeneration of perception.

Solar eclipses occur when a New Moon aligns at one of the intersections of the Moon’s orbit with the apparent path of the Sun from our earthbound perspective, known as the North and South Nodes of the Moon within astrology. Dane Rudhyar described the symbolism of the Moon casting a shadow that blackens the light of the Sun during a solar eclipse as signifying memories and unconscious patterns and perceptions overcoming our present awareness, creating greater potential for integrating and coming to terms with deep seated material normally kept out of mind. Since the Sun and Moon will be both on the side of the North Node of the Moon, there will be new visions arising out of the flood of feelings and memories unleashed by the eclipse that will catalyze new directions.

Mercury retrograde in Gemini is not only insisting on plunging into inner depths and soulful memories, but also questioning, investigating, connecting, distilling, and gathering a synthesis of insight from the subterranean material found there. Mercury stationed retrograde in Gemini on May 29 while forming a conjunction with Venus in Gemini; while both Mercury and Venus were visible as evening stars during sunset at the end of May, Venus in contrast to Mercury was at the very beginning of her evening star phase and therefore full of new desires for Mercury to sift through and integrate. By the beginning of June Mercury shifted into its invisible phase of guiding us into the underworld of unconscious material, shedding and releasing what needs to be let go of from the past as we come to terms with the new desires sparked by Venus.

While Mercury in Gemini may bring to mind images of galavanting go-betweens, it’s vital to bear in mind that Mercury is in the depths of its psychopomp phase of guiding awareness into inner caves of imaginal depth to encounter what has been lurking within the shadows of new desires, curiously exploring whatever new life force has been incubating within and yearning to emerge into manifestation. Mercury is sovereign and at home in the airy, inquisitive sign of Gemini lending increased capacity for Mercury’s retrograde movement to take us into the deepest recesses of inner life and dreams, turning over and examining each remnant retrieved from inner realms through multiple perspectives and reflections, weaving together new understanding without insisting on definitive conclusions. Mercury delights in the unexpected twist and turn that changes the way we have previously understood our story, and so the more we can surrender to the way Mercury is helping us rewrite our story the better we may be able to situate ourselves within the new chapter of our story that the Gemini Solar Eclipse is opening.

In contrast to Mercury ruling the North Node of the Moon from its airy home of Gemini, Jupiter is ruling the South Node of the Moon from its watery home of Pisces. The dark, waning Moon formed a square aspect with Jupiter on June 8 on its way to forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon on June 9, altogether giving Jupiter in Pisces a strong influence over whatever old material and memories are being released and reseeded into new narratives and visions of future potential by the eclipse. Jupiter in Pisces ruling the South Node of the Moon is a gift to be grateful for, as it can help us come to terms with whatever old fears and emotions are being dredged to the surface of awareness while simultaneously facilitating both a sinking into feelings as well as a re-emergence that may gather and cohere meaning that can be constructively and creatively brought into the reality of present circumstances. While past experiences and memories may inform our understanding of whatever is presently developing, the far reaching vision of Jupiter in Pisces will also illuminate how things are presently different and developing in new ways that are completely different from our past experiences.

Apártalos Que Voy De Paso by Remedios Varo

“I am only the container of the feeling of ecstasy, of the feeling of rapture.”

— Virginia Woolf, from A Sketch of the Past

The imaginal, unbounded and limitless realm of Neptune has an especially strong influence over the eclipse. The Solar Eclipse in Gemini is applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, with Mercury retrograde in Gemini separating within three degrees from an exact square aspect with Neptune. Mercury retrograde formed an exact square aspect with Neptune on June 5 after previously having formed a square aspect with Neptune while direct on May 22. Following the Gemini Solar Eclipse, Mercury will gain a little more distance from Neptune but will never get further than about seven degrees from an exact square with Neptune. Mercury will return to form its third and final square aspect with Neptune in the sequence on July 6, creating an extended period of time during which to relate to the friction and inspiration being generated between Mercury with Neptune.

It has become common within astrology to hear people blame Neptune for causing illusions and misperceptions, which is interesting as in fact Neptune is often revealing the delusional mindframe people are already living within and perceiving their life from. In The Odyssey, an epic that pits the wily, complicated and mercurial hero Odysseus against Poseidon, the Greek precursor to the Roman Neptune, Zeus toward the beginning of the story remarks upon the absurdity of mortals blaming the gods: “They say we cause their suffering, but they themselves increase it by folly.” It’s possible that the square aspect between Mercury with Neptune has been revealing illusions you have held about circumstances or people in your life, but if this is the case the deeper meaning of the revelations can open awareness to the greater mystery of what has been occurring as well as to help reorient you to the truth of your reality so you may make more informed decisions and come to deeper understanding of whatever has been occurring. With Mercury presently within the deepest and darkest phase of its retrograde motion, there may be significant dreams, omens, synchronicities, and other living symbols occurring around you that will be able to help you further explore the meaning and understanding you have been gathering and engaging with.

While Neptune engaging with Mercury may have brought about disillusioning experiences, it’s also possible they have opened your heart and mind to inspiring visions and dreams to cultivate and nurture as well as expanded your sense of being interconnected in a meaningful way within the web of innumerable relationships within the world around you. While Neptune may have been dissolving whatever has been in the way of opening to the new potential ready to emerge, the retrograde motion of Mercury has been digging into the shadows cast by the brightness of new dreams, rooting out whatever old hangups and thought circles are ready to be shed so that we may more fully be present with the ways our life and direction are radically being reshaped. There is a balance to be struck by accepting and not negating the inspiration opened by Neptune while also allowing Mercury to mediate the interweaving forces of eros and necessity so that we may come to terms with what needs to be attended to in our daily reality. In this way Mercury and Neptune can help in guiding us toward the adjustments needed to be made so that the exciting visions of future potential will be able to be more securely developed.

Eclipses come in families known as the Saros cycle, and so it is further fascinating that the eclipse family that the Gemini Solar Eclipse belongs to is strongly connected with Neptune. The origin of the Saros cycle ancestry begins at either the south or north pole and then traces a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. Thus the Gemini Solar Eclipse on June 10, 2021 is part of the Saros 147 eclipse family that has its origin in an eclipse on October 12, 1624. Fascinatingly, the Libra Solar Eclipse that originated the series in 1624 was forming a conjunction with Neptune within a degree. Bernadette Brady in her book Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark wrote that it is an “unusual Saros series involving sudden flashes of ideas that seem to have a psychic or unconscious flavor,” and that it is a “truly creative series which should leave the individual enriched,” able to draw from hunches, visions, and prophetic dreams.

Keeping in mind that when Mercury stationed retrograde on May 29 it was forming a conjunction with Venus in Gemini, it is further significant that the asteroid Juno is retrograde in Sagittarius near the South Node of the Moon during the Gemini Solar Eclipse. Juno has been moving retrograde along with the South Node of the Moon and will be continuing to get closer to the South Node until eventually forming a conjunction with it in the beginning of July. Furthermore, just like Mercury is presently engaging in a square aspect with Neptune, so did Juno previously in recent months as Juno formed a square with Neptune on March 4 while direct followed by a second square with Neptune on May 5 while retrograde. Juno retrograde on the South Node side of the eclipse signifies the importance of old relational patterns and commitments resurfacing for reflection and release, as we renegotiate present commitments as well as form new ones.

Moreover, Vesta in Virgo is moving direct into an exact square aspect with Juno in Sagittarius during the eclipse, as well as moving toward a square aspect with Mercury retrograde in Gemini that will become exact on June 16. Vesta in Virgo is furthermore heading toward an opposition with Neptune in Pisces it will complete on July 2, drawing to a close a series of oppositions that Vesta has been forming with Neptune that previously occurred on December 20, 2020 and February 9, 2021. Whereas Juno has been bringing awareness to our needs within our relationships and who and what we wish to commit to, Vesta has been drawing attention to our own inner needs so that we may create relational dynamics with others that are mutually empowering and interdependent. Vesta will remove herself from external involvement when necessary to replenish and restore her sense of centeredness, which ultimately will also help in creating the kind of relational dynamics we desire. While both Vesta and Neptune can inspire devotion, one of the main differences is that the dissolving and disintegrating impact of Neptune can wash away our sense of egoic control and increase yearning for merging with sources of idealism. In contrast, Vesta will facilitate being in devotional service and relationship while maintaining connection with the sacred flame within so that we do not lose ourselves in external sources of ideals or become too decentered. You may notice that you began going through disillusioning experiences related to the tension between Vesta and Neptune at the end of 2020 that you now are beginning to more deeply reconcile and integrate so you can make constructive use of the insight you have gained.

While Venus re-emerging into visibility in the past month while forming a square aspect with Neptune and a conjunction with Mercury may have made us aware of important new desires and feelings within relationship, the presence of Juno retrograde in Sagittarius and Vesta in Virgo reveals the necessity of sifting through old relational patterns and perceptions to bring to the surface unconscious feelings and blockages that could otherwise inhibit our capacity for healing old relational patterns and forming healthier relationships with others. With Mercury retrograde on the side of the North Node and applying toward a regenerative conjunction with the Sun, we have the opportunity to lay to rest old fears and patterns from past relationships so we may better orient to the actual dynamics developing in present relationships. Juno in Sagittarius can also help us realize what we are ready to release regarding commitments from the past as well as become more deeply aware of who and what we wish to commit to going forward and the reasons why. Vesta in Virgo can help in tending to our inner needs so we may engage with our work and relationships from a more centered and restored sense of self that is in touch with our own needs and capable of communicating them to others.

Photograph by Laurel Ilvonen

Mercury in Gemini will enter the sacred heart of the Sun on June 10 at 20°21’ Gemini, later on the same day as the Gemini Solar Eclipse. A moment of epiphany for Mercury within the cavernous depths of Mystery, the solar conjunction of Mercury is both an ending and beginning, a rebirth moment for Mercury that deserves time set aside for contemplation and consideration as Mercury will be revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light. During its solar re-seeding, Mercury becomes purified and regenerated, yet this time around it will be doing so less than a day after the Sun has been eclipsed by the Moon. During this time of otherworldly light, when the Sun is in the midst of recovering from being veiled in shadow, we will be able to draw from the potent capacity of Mercury in Gemini for dissolving, blending, and mediating polarities and paradoxical tensions between opposites. There will be extraordinary potential available for receiving deep insight into the underlying, unconscious patterns at work in our life at the same time we will need to surrender to the changes to storylines brought in correspondence with the Gemini Solar Eclipse.

Unfortunately, popular astrology often mischaracterizes Gemini as having dilettante tendencies that keep it on the surface level of meaning, when in actuality Gemini has extraordinary capacity for poring underneath surface relationships for a depth of understanding that can find connection between disparate parts that would otherwise be overlooked. Mercury retrograde in Gemini can go especially deep through research, reading, reflection, writing, and when in dialogue and conversation with others, and so we can utilize its skills for flexibly weaving strands of meaning and connection together as we adjust to the changes that come with the Gemini Solar Eclipse. Mercury retrograde in Gemini can hold multiple ideas and issues at once, allowing a process of discovery to sort itself out rather than insisting on finding definitive answers or pretending it’s even possible to know for sure. As Mercury retrograde in Gemini separates from its conjunction with the Sun and begins to slow down and then station direct on June 22, be curious about asking questions, continuing to explore potential answers, and being willing to look at issues and experiences from multiple perspectives and viewpoints.

The strength of Mercury in Gemini for being flexible, listening and communicating with a depth of presence will be needed as we deal with the other major influence occurring with the Gemini Solar Eclipse: the friction between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus. The second exact square between Saturn with Uranus will occur on June 14 at 13°06’ Aquarius and Taurus, with Saturn retrograde and Uranus direct. The propulsive force of change brought forth between their dynamic is not new, as we already experienced an exact square between Saturn and Uranus on February 17, 2021 and we will continue to be heavily influenced by them for the rest of the year, as there will be one more final exact square between Saturn and Uranus that will take place on December 23, 2021 at 11°05’ Aquarius and Taurus. However, there likely has already been significant change occurring as we approach their second exact square or at the very least a buildup of tension that is ready to be released through dynamics shifting and changing. The square between Saturn and Uranus is the dominant astrological theme of 2021 and is at the root of all the dramatic changes taking shape on personal and collective levels.

Although Mercury retrograde in Gemini will not go far enough backwards through Gemini to form an exact trine aspect with Saturn, Mercury will end up being about three degrees away from an exact trine with Saturn when it stations direct on June 22. As a result, the ability of Mercury retrograde in Gemini to dig into the roots of present dynamics will be especially helpful in terms of working with the longterm scale of planning that pleases Saturn. While Uranus in Taurus is electrifying dynamics and causing the boundaries of Saturn to loosen so that new shapes and forms that are authentically exciting and passionate can come into being, the influence of Saturn retrograde in Aquarius requires us to be patient while slowly and steadily building and cultivating things so that we develop new structures, forms, and relationships that will last and stand up resiliently to external stress and pressures.

Mercury retrograde in Gemini can be helpful for mediating any disruption emanating from the dramatic changes occurring in correspondence with the clash between Saturn and Uranus. Saturn and Uranus in hard aspect can completely overturn our lives so that it seems as if everything has suddenly changed in ways that can feel extremely disruptive to the ways we have previously formed our security and identity around the attachments that we must release as part of moving with the changes. We can become at risk of dissociating or splitting off our awakened potential rather than finding ways to begin integrating it into our life. Mercury in Gemini can help us ground within the volatility of letting go of old forms of stability as we embrace the more expansive sense of wholeness emerging for us. As our perceptions about our future direction as well as our past that led to the present undergo radical shifting, Mercury in Gemini can be a great aid in holding multiple perceptions and experiences while allowing for whatever wants and needs to be born from the process at work.

Chariot of Ceres (ca. 1509) by Pinturicchio

There is another integral figure to recognize and relate with regarding the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus: Ceres in Taurus. Ceres in her chariot pulled by double dragons is forming a conjunction with Uranus at 12’55 Taurus on June 10, the same day as the solar eclipse and inferior conjunction of Mercury. There are multivalent potential meanings for Ceres being present with Uranus during the eclipse on both personal and collective levels, for example there could be significant mobilizations and activations with labor and agricultural movements within current events. However, with Mercury retrograde in the underworld and the light of the Sun becoming blackened by shadow, the union of Ceres with Uranus has clear resonance with the kind of revelatory insight gained by ancient cultures through undergoing the mystery initiations that were said to have been brought by Demeter, the Greek counterpart to the Roman Ceres. If old grief, trauma, wounds, or difficult emotions surface in the wake of the eclipse, the presence of Uranus with Ceres suggests the potential for a liberating jolt to occur that dislodges us from being stuck in old narratives with insight gained in how to begin relating in new ways with the old memories.

Demetra George has also spoken about Ceres being connected with attachment styles and issues of attachment related to one’s childhood, and so experiences within relationship may also lead to significant insight regarding how to heal old issues at the root of ways we have felt blocked from opening to deeper intimacy with others. Fortunately, Venus in Cancer is applying to a harmonious sextile aspect with Ceres that she will complete on June 13 as well as a sextile with Uranus she will complete the day before on June 12. With Venus receiving both Ceres and Uranus through a harmonious aspect within the watery sign of Cancer, there will be increased opportunities and potential to integrate and embody significant growth out of all of the emotional material that may be stirred up. As Ceres is also a signifier for the abundance and harvest that come from natural cycles in addition to the necessity of passing through periods of decomposition and regenerative death, we may gather a deeper sense of what needs to be released from our past into a process of putrefaction in order to receive and integrate the emerging new presence sparked by Uranus that is full of creative life force and passion.

9 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 2 Decan

The Solar Eclipse will blacken the light of the Sun in the second decan of Gemini associated with the Nine of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Nine of Swords image of nightmarish worry and anguish under a cover of astrological symbols takes on new meaning when considering that Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Hermaphrodite” to this face. Coppock described the second face of Gemini as being a place of mediating “continuing duality” in which “we must learn to reconcile angels and demons within a single soul.” The obsessive, negative thought cycles shown in the Nine of Swords through this lens reveals an “inability to reconcile dualities within oneself, within the world,” to Coppock, “the moments of despair” which can occur within the “irreconcilable places” found within this decan. Yet to Coppock there is a great gift to cultivate in the second face of Gemini in terms of recognizing how each side of dualities like love and war perpetually turn back into one another through the “arts of union and separation.” Coppock concluded that whoever “accepts these oscillations comes to understand the whole of interaction- they are unbothered by either, knowing the other waits in turn.”

Fittingly for a hermaphroditic decan, the second face of Gemini is ruled by both Mars and Venus, and numerous ancient texts have ascribed images of dualistic forms. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs attributed the ancient goddess Cybele to this face, whose creation story involves an original hermaphroditic form. The Liber Hermetis described a double faced man holding a bow and arrows, treading on rabbits with both feet. Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described another man holding a bow and arrow, but one whose head is bound in lead with an iron helmet featuring a silk crown, who is enjoying “ridicule and mockery” while walking around a garden playing music and picking flowers. While the Picatrix described an eagle-faced man also with bow and arrows, iron helmet, and silk crown, the Yavanajataka described a graceful black woman in bright garments who delights in the arts, singing and storytelling and who is pleased to be holding a lyre.

The hermaphrodite is also a living image resonant with the new presence and meaning that Mercury in Gemini may gather and birth from the tension of opposites in the weeks ahead as it completes its retrograde movement, stations in stillness, and proceeds to generate forward momentum as a bright Morning Star heralding sunrise. It will not be a time for black and white thinking during the period following the eclipse, but rather embracing the grayness of being in between thought and expression, conscious and unconscious awareness, the daily responsibilities we must attend to and the limitless expanses of imagination we may soar to within a moment of respite. If you feel fooled by an unexpected turn of events, see how the perspective of Hermes who delights in the twist of storylines can help you recenter and gain a sense for the meaning to be found in the mishap. As we draw closer to the finale of the first half of 2021, make space for reflecting on the many things that have been changing and how you wish to deepen into the transfigurations already underway for you.

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References

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser Books.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

The Odyssey by Homer. (2018). Translated by Emily Wilson. Norton.