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.

Mercury Retrograde in 2021

Mercury air triplicity

Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

Mercury Retrograde in 2021

I recently joined astrologer Stormie Grace on her astrology show to talk about the significance of the three Mercury retrograde periods in 2021. Mercury will be retrograde in air signs in 2021 and as a result will help facilitate our transition into the new era of air signified by the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. In addition, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius in February and Mercury retrograde in June will also be happening during the first two exact square aspects formed between Saturn and Uranus. As a result, the Mercury retrograde periods will also be directly involved in our adjustment to the sudden changes and rupturing that will correlate with Saturn in square with Uranus during 2021. We talk about the meaning of Mercury and Mercury retrograde in general, and then get into the details regarding each of the three periods of Mercury retrograde next year.

Here is a link to watch the recording:

Full Moon in Sagittarius

Full Moon in Sagittarius Angel by Basquiat

by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Full Moon in Sagittarius

The Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 2 is extremely mutable in activity, with the Full Moon square to Neptune in Pisces and the Sun also conjunct Mars and Mercury retrograde in Gemini.  Mutable signs are also known as double-bodied signs, as they each symbolize a different aspect of dualism:  the two fish of Pisces, the twins of Gemini, the winged maiden of Virgo, and the centaur of Sagittarius that is half human and half horse.  The transits at this Full Moon contain something in each of these signs:  Black Moon Lilith in Virgo, Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, Mars, Mercury retrograde, and the Sun in Gemini, and Pallas Athena, Saturn retrograde, and the Full Moon in Sagittarius.  Since this full lunation illuminates the sign of Sagittarius, it is worthwhile to consider how the other mutable signs impact Sagittarius through transit.

Ah, to be a boundless centaur, galloping freely across meadows and within forests, instinctually acting on animalistic passion and impulse, alive with presence in the moment with attunement to the surrounding natural world.  Sagittarius has a mission of evoking fiery vision that coalesces the duality of spirit and matter, intuitively acting from a place of inner knowing.  Yet this inner knowing can also lead to the shadowy side of Sagittarius that assumes it knows what is right, that does not question if their own personal truth is in conflict with the truth of others, and that expresses their ardor without being aware if their passionate action is transgressing the boundaries of others.  The opposition from Gemini and square from Virgo and Pisces to Sagittarius can bring lessons of humility to temper the narcissistic tendencies of Sagittarius, as well as challenges of discernment and the multiplicity of perspectives present in the ultimate philosophical understanding Sagittarius often strives for.  Despite the untethered bravado of Sagittarius, there is potential for the belief system Sagittarius welds from experience to become dogmatic, and so hard aspects from Virgo, Pisces, and Gemini force the centaur to acknowledge that there are many other belief systems circulating with an equally valid perception of truth to their own.

With such strong Gemini energy now (Mercury retrograde, Sun, Mars all within range of conjunction) the Sagittarius Full Moon could spark a synthesis of all the fragments of mental activity we have been exploring recently into a fresh vision to live from, or create a deepening of understanding along a line of thought we have been developing for some time.  The square from Neptune in Pisces to this Full Moon brings a wave of deliquescence and a challenge to our Sagittarian vision that will cause disillusionment wherever the belief system we are perceiving from is out of alignment with our actual reality.  Events can pull us out of abstract theorizing and into the heat of the moment where we experience the stark effect of acting from our beliefs.  Wars, fights, arguments, and debates rooted in ideological conflict are likely to emerge in this atmosphere, with Neptune cloaking the clashes in a fog of idealism.  Yet with a focused use of our mind, there is also potential for the square from Neptune in Pisces, in tandem with the other aspects present in this Sagittarius Full Moon, to help us penetrate into bodies of knowledge that were previously mysterious and facilitate reception of a profound message.

Full Moon in Sagittarius Ascent by Basquiat

by Jean-Michel Basquiat

The Full Moon in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter in Leo that is conjunct Juno and forms a Grand Fire Trine with Uranus in Aries, Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, and the Full Moon in Sagittarius.  This is an incredibly liberating arrangement of potent creative visualization and progenitive insight.  The trine between Jupiter and Uranus has been with us since last September 2014, and we now have less than a month to enjoy it’s dynamic energy as it’s last exact aspect occurs on the Solstice later this month.  Trines generally require something to kick us into gear to activate them, and so the opposition of the Gemini Sun, Mars, and Mercury retrograde to the Sagittarius Full Moon can do the trick.  Open your mind and seize the moment, for this is an opportune time to be pioneering and initiate bold action to propel you into a new level of development.  If a clear direction is not coming to mind, it can also be a powerful time to brainstorm and mind map as many options as possible in order to realize the choice that will be break you out of a past limiting pattern and into a broadened horizon.

Jupiter in Leo has also been holding compelling aspects to the Pluto and Uranus square, as it is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries and separating from a quincunx with Pluto in Capricorn.  These aspects ask us to take the liberating thoughts and expansive visions associated with Jupiter in Leo and the Grand Fire Trine of this Full Moon, and to discern how to integrate the corresponding gift and message into our surrounding community.  Instead of forcing our will like the idiom of driving a square peg into a round hole, Pluto in Capricorn wants us to figure out how we can use the creative actualization of Jupiter in Leo to meet the needs of our society.  While Pluto in Capricorn does have to do with the tearing down of systems of power, there is still a dominant power structure intact.  Instead of hurling ourselves with anger, shouts, and fists at oppressive powers, these aspects between Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter suggest a more subversive route of figuring out how to infiltrate into networks of the power structure and transform the system from the inside out.

Sagittarius Full Moon with Mercury retrograde in Gemini

by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol

This Full Moon illuminates our experience of the Mercury retrograde in Gemini so far, as it comes a few days after the inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun.  In keeping with the symbolism of the Sagittarius archer, the Grand Fire Trine between Jupiter and Juno in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Pallas Athena and the Full Moon in Sagittarius is like an arrowhead on a shaft of opposition to Mercury retrograde, Mars, and the Sun in Gemini, with this Gemini trio in sextile to Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Leo.  There is potent force in these aspects, and as a result it necessitates a mindful presence so we can focus on aiming at targets that will inspire instead of harm others.  To make productive use of the Mercury retrograde in Gemini requires that we actively focus our mind, and if we do so now the recent retrograde rumination will clarify into a reception of meaning that has a transformational impact on us.

As the Sun is separating from Mercury retrograde in Gemini at the time of the Full Moon, it is actively chasing after Mars in Gemini.  The Sun gains ground on Mars by zodiac degree each day in the next two weeks, but Mars will manage to barely stay ahead of the Sun until they finally become conjunct on June 14 at 24° of Gemini.  While Mars this close to the Sun may lead to hot tempers difficult to manage, at this Full Moon there is an inspiring sextile between Mars and Uranus as well as between Mars and Jupiter that can link our will-force to our soul-purpose.  Similar to Jupiter, Mars is forming a quincunx to Pluto in Capricorn at the same time as its harmonious aspect with Uranus in Aries.  This means that by transit there is temporarily a yod formed between Mars in Gemini, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Leo.  Crucially, the trine from Uranus to Jupiter and sextile from Uranus to Mars means that if we push past whatever fear is coming up for us with regards to initiating a new, dynamic step forward in our growth, we will experience an upswell of invigorating force that will lead us into acting from a revitalized belief system that liberates instead of limits us.

Full Moon in Sagittarius II Decan

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius II Decan

The Moon is the ruler of the second decan of Sagittarius, and so the Full Moon on June 2 illuminates the depth of this decan.  The 9 of Wands is the associated card in tarot, and in the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a wounded yet resilient figure brandishing a staff in front of the eight staffs of the previous card, the 8 of Wands, planted in the ground.  It’s as if the rushing, quicksilver visions of the 8 of Wands and the first decan of Sagittarius has brought about conflict from adversaries in the surrounding environment.  Receiving an inspired vision, as we may at this Full Moon, is only the first step in what can be a long and arduous process of manifestation full of conflict.  We are often not aware of all of the obstacles standing in the way of our vision becoming palpable in material form until we decide to take action and strive to make our vision a reality.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces paints the second decan of Sagittarius as being a test of the Sagittarian purpose of unifying manifold elements into a cohesive system, as in this decan “the figures struggle to maintain that unity under the assault of contrary forces” (p. 198):

Yet the trying circumstances depicted in this face are utterly necessary to produce the force of will required to sustain the conjunctio between body and spirit which is this face’s purpose . . . The strength pictured here is the strength to defend what one has established- the ability to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces.  This may seem stressful, but this level of friction is necessary to generate the heat capable of fusing mind and body, vehicle and will. There is no hero without a nemesis.  (p. 198)

With Neptune in Pisces being in square to this Sagittarius Full Moon, possessing resilient faith in the unknown and our capacity to adjust to change and collaborate with others for help when necessary will be key.  While Austin Coppock described those that emerge from the conflict of the Sagittarius II decan as being “ruthless, bold, and of undivided will” (p. 200), attempting to aggressively fight back against the forces of Neptune in our way is unlikely to yield us positive results.  Instead, we may need to surrender or let go of something, and in the process of eliminating what no longer serves us or is out of alignment with our experience, we will make space for new inspiration. Anyone who is a writer or artist can also utilize this same energy to imbibe their creations with amplified power.  If we are holding a vision dear to our hearts that is truly good and beautiful for us, it will hold up against the square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces- in this case we need to resiliently stand firm in our fiery desire and spirit.

Full Moon in Sagittarius June 2, 2015 chart

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini Dream Shifting

A Measure of Dreams (1908) by Arthur B. Davies

—When I die, I will see the lining of the world.

The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.

The true meaning, ready to be decoded.

What never added up will add up,

What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.

−And if there is no lining to the world?

If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,

But just a thrush on the branch?  If night and day

Make no sense following each other?

And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?

−Even if that is so, there will remain

A word wakened by lips that perish,

A tireless messenger who runs and runs

Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,

And calls out, protests, screams.

Czeslaw Milosz (1991) MEANING

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

On May 18, a day after a New Moon in Taurus, we enter the second of our thrice yearly Mercury retrograde spells, this one occurring in Gemini.  As the Mercury retrograde periods in 2015 all occur in Air signs, this chapter is significant for being in the mutable sign of Gemini where Mercury makes its home and lifts our minds with winds of inspired language.  Mercury retrogrades are not a time to fear, though being aware that Mercury is setting a different tempo can help us orient to how to make productive use of its potential.  When Mercury appears to move backward from our perspective during its retrograde, it is closer in orbit to us and creates the effect of moving slower.  In correspondence, we gain access to a more magical perception that can decode messages from symbolic patterns in our daily experience.  Following Mercury’s retrograde station, Mercury disappears from our view of it hovering over our horizon and moves into the underworld and the role of guiding us into pivotal inner insights of soul.  In Gemini, Mercury plays up his mischievous trickster side that unveils the folly of those taking themselves too seriously, as well as amplifies our capacity to synthesize a multiplicity of perspectives, philosophies, and observations into shared meaning and unified vision.

Muse,
sing Hermes,
son of Zeus and Maia . . .
. . . [Maia] produced her child,
the very crafty,
the super-subtle
Hermes:
thief,
cattle-rustler,
carrier of dreams,
secret agent,
prowler,
and soon to show his stuff

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury is the in-between archetype capable of seeing both sides of a duality, while mediating the tension of opposites in order to unify meaning.  Mercury in Gemini has been stereotyped as scattered and distracted, yet this curious mental quality continually finds new connections between concepts superficially viewed as disparate.  Mercury is a phallic god of fertility with a fully developed femininity that can take it beyond gender categories, a networker in the upper world of matter who can descend into the underworld and guide souls toward their next incarnation.  There is a depth to Mercury retrograde that is simultaneously full of humorous and serious exploration.  No one in society can escape the tricks Mercury plays, whether they be the chief executive of a large corporation hoarding societal rewards or an alienated, unemployed drifter struggling to survive from day to day.  When Mercury strikes with his flash of light and clever grin, the joke he pulls on you holds a profound lesson to glean in meaning.

This youthfully handsome, friendly, and thievish guide, who possesses magical golden shoes that transport him over earth and sea and a magical staff with which he puts people to sleep and awakens them again- has he not all the characteristics and attributes of a seductive and lethal guide of souls, the gentle Psychopompos of the later monuments?

–Karl Kerenyi (p. 28) Hermes: Guide of Souls

During this Mercury retrograde from 14° to 5° Gemini, one of the most significant themes is the unveiling of the archetype of Neptune in Pisces.  A little over a week before stationing retrograde, Mercury in Gemini formed a square to Neptune in Pisces, and during it’s retrograde phase Mercury will square Neptune again, ultimately stationing direct in range of a square to Neptune.  The day after Mercury stations direct at 5° Gemini, Neptune will station retrograde at 10° Pisces, leading to Mercury creating a third square with a retrograde Neptune in Pisces after moving direct again. Since Neptune in Pisces represents our collective tapestry of consciousness and the unconscious, the square from Mercury in Gemini can lead us to penetrate into the connective details found in the interwoven threads of meaning within the Neptunian fabric surrounding us.  If we open ourselves to the possibility of shifting our future visions, we can experience a re-alignment that sheds what has been disillusioning and re-centers us on the dreams that are most deeply felt and authentic.

As Mercury is also a boundary marker whose presence at entryways and borders is especially illuminated during Mercury retrograde time periods, it is further significant that Saturn, the planet of boundaries, is also retrograde when Mercury shifts direction and in range of an opposition to both the Sun and Mars.  This very same sense of restriction we could feel from Saturn toward the Sun and Mars at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde is the very fuel Mercury will consume in order to stimulate our thoughts beyond previous limitations:

Archetypally, we can see in the image of Hermes a mythical statement of the psyche’s innate tendency to give definition to perceptual and mental horizons, to mark edges, to define spaces. Originally Hermes stood at the edge of known space . . . His sign marked the limit of consciousness. Beyond the boundary lies the unknown, the uncanny, the dangerous, the unconscious. When markers are created and limits set, however, curiosity and explorativeness are also excited and new spaces for exploration and discovery invite the bold and courageous traveler. If Hermes marks the boundary between conscious and unconscious, we have to realize that this boundary is always shifting and in flux; it is mercurial. Background and foreground may instantaneously reverse too, and generate new perceptions, novel insights.

Within the area of the known, containers take shape which are reserved for specific types of human activity, while beyond them lies the “other,” the foreign (even if only temporarily), the taboo, the forbidden, the unclean. Hermes standing at the boundary marks a psychological and sometimes a moral limit and calls special attention to the space being entered or left. When he first appears, he may create a new space by dividing a vast horizon into the “here” and the “beyond,” and thus he creates both consciousness and a new unconscious. His intervention in the perceptual and psychological field creates new possibilities for consciousness, also new edges and boundaries beyond which lie the mysterious “others.” When he disappears, there is a loss of identity and definition.

— Murray Stein from Hermes and the Creation of Space (1999)

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini passage

Two Trees (1875) by Odilon Redon

When I ran barefoot in our gardens by the river Niewiaza

Something was there, that I didn’t then try to name:

Everywhere, between the trunks of linden trees, on the sunny side of the lawn, on the path by the orchard.

A Presence resided, I didn’t know whose.

The air was full of it, it touched me, it held me close.

It spoke to me through the scents of grass, the flute voice of the oriole, the twitter of swallows.

Had I then been taught the names of gods, I would easily have known their faces.

But I grew up in a Catholic family, and so my surroundings were soon teeming with devils, but also with the saints of the Lord.

Yet in truth I felt their Presence, all of them, gods and demons,

As if rising within one enormous unknowable Being.

Czeslaw Milosz (2002) PRESENCE 

Once Mercury has stationed retrograde he ushers us into a darker, deeper, underworld phase of our path, a stage during which our Mercurial perceptions function most strongly with intuition and symbolic awareness of patterns perceived in our journeys by day as well as at night in our dreams.  We enter a liminal space of shifting speed that slows things down enough to take in a deeper examination of the underlying patterns we have been living from.  This is a time in which our minds can be more free than normal to take in new insight, and we can ultimately emerge from the period with a revitalized perception.  In a Mercury retrograde it matters less that you have constructed a rationally balanced argument to support your position, and matters more that you have described your perspective with poetic imagery that can strike at the hearts of your audience.

Mercury retrograde is also a time of synchronicity, and in this way we are fortunate that this Mercury retrograde in Gemini begins with the Moon applying to a conjunction with Mercury in the sign of the Twins.  The Moon uniting with Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde increases our capacity to orient ourselves to the changes that will be coinciding with the Mercury retrograde and to begin to attune to the meaning that will be taking shape for us.  There is also an expansive quality to the stationing of Mercury found in the sextile between Mercury and Jupiter in Leo, and since Jupiter in Leo is also in trine to Uranus in Aries it signifies that this coming Mercury retrograde could coincide with dramatic breakthroughs in thought that take us to a new level of thinking in whatever realm we have been exploring.  The less we can be tied and bound to rigid, fixed belief systems, and the more we can liberate ourselves from past dogmatic thinking, the better we will be able to access the potential of this Mercury retrograde that appears to be very impressive in the field of creative thought and communication.

The Sun and Mars joining Mercury in Gemini is another important theme, and at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde the Sun and Mars are in range of an opposition to Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, with Mars separating from an opposition to Saturn and the Sun applying to an opposition with Saturn.  Mars in Gemini is full of mental activity, and it’s inquisitive nature could spark us to intellectually challenge authorities in our field of interest.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is retrograde, we could experience a de-conditioning from belief systems that have not been authentically resonant for us through exploring exciting new sources of knowledge.  As Mars separates from it’s opposition to Saturn it will begin to form an exact square with Neptune in Pisces, and so this tension can compel us to go deeper into metaphysical study of our subject.  In particular, the combination of Mercury retrograde in Gemini uniting with Mars direct in Gemini will feed our ability to create new categories and definitions of meaning that will both expand and intensify any subject we sustain focus on.  If we are full of hubris or living in an illusion, the square between Mars in Gemini and Neptune in Pisces could result in a great Mercury retrograde joke being played on us that reveals the foolishness of our ways.

Also during the initial phase of Mercury retrograde, transiting Venus in Cancer will claim center stage by triggering the Uranus and Pluto square with an opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and a square to Uranus in Aries.  These stressful, growth-oriented aspects to Venus will give Mercury retrograde a lot of material to work with, and if you are a writer there could be incredible depth to access and process through your craft.  Venus triggering the Pluto and Uranus square will uncover our emotional needs and insecurities we have been overcompensating for in one way or another.  Significant memories could arise to process that connect back to any point within the series of seven squares between Pluto and Uranus that have been in range since 2011.  This is fortuitous in both the healing and creative realms, as memory is a fertile source from which the Mercury retrograde can weave new meaning from the release of old thought forms.  The connection between Mercury with memory and creativity can be found in the Homeric hymn to Hermes, where it is revealed that Hermes is a follower of the Titaness of memory, and mother of muses, Mnemosyne:

Suddenly [Hermes] started playing the lyre
louder, reciting a prelude-
and the sound accompanying him
was lovely-
about the immortal gods
and the dark earth,
how they were in the beginning,
and what prerogatives each one had.
And the first of the gods
that he commemorated with his song
was Mnemosyne, Mother of Muses,
for the son of Maia
was a follower of hers.

–from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Mercury Retrograde Inferior Conjunction

Vision (1883) by Odilon Redon

That boundless substance,

different, in any case, from

the flight of a crane, the gait of a tiger,

the underwater gambols of sperm whales.

In dreams I saw cities of gas and metal,

unceasing fabric of the mind.

Music of the spheres, music of violins and flutes.

That, which endures,

while they are born and die.

Higher than the blind energies of matter,

higher than currents running in the body

of eel, piranha, shark, so they may open

their jaws and devour their catch.

A temple full of little gods and demons,

with a vast number of nicknames and tails.

Czeslaw Milosz (2003)

The Inferior Conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Gemini, the point of conception for a freshly synthesized vision, occurs at 9:56 am Pacific Standard Time on May 30, 2015 at nine degrees of Gemini.  Gemini is one of the mutable, double-bodied signs, perhaps through the image of the twins being the most exemplary sign of the human tendency toward dualistic thinking.  Just like the heaven of connecting with another human we consider to be a kindred spirit, soul mate, twin flame, . . . etc . . . it can be the deeply felt experience of our own personal patterns being mirrored back to us through another that sparks an epiphany of self-realization, and demonstrates how the interplay between twins can coalesce transcendent thought.  At the inferior conjunction we have a magical moment to achieve a one-pointed focus of the unity that holds duality within it, that bridges a multiplicity of meaning to a unified perspective, and that guides us into an insightful realization about our soul and associated patterns.  This is a time to meditate or surrender to Hermes the Psychopomp, as we allow the message of the moment to soak into our core and revivify our perception.

The Sabian Symbol for 9° Gemini where Mercury’s inner union with the Sun occurs is “A QUIVER FILLED WITH ARROWS,” and fittingly had a double meaning to Dane Rudhyar.  On the lower level, this symbol represents the human capacity “to extend the scope of his conquest of nature and kill enemies in order to build a larger base for the collective development of a culture and an organized society” (p. 95).  Since a quiver of arrows suggests the existence of a target to aim at, this symbol also represents the penetrating potential of the human mind to go through the target toward which it aims, destroying the obstacles on its path.  At a higher level, Rudhyar likened this symbol to the “Zen practice of archery” in which “the obstacle is the ego” (p. 95).  The unifying concept of this symbol to Rudhyar is “CONQUEST,” whether it is applied to conquering the external world or the restrictive influence of the ego on our inner world. During this Mercury retrograde, it is best to remember Rudhyar’s conjecture of conquest, as the moment our ego grabs hold of us in order to win a debate at all costs, is the moment that the staff of Hermes could suddenly strike and enfold us in a joke of which we are the punchline.  The more we can sustain a collaborative, creative air between us and those holding sharply contrasting opinions, we will be better able to avoid the pitfalls of dispute that stresses more so than enlivens.  The inspiring potential we find here is that by listening to opinions coming from drastically different perceptions to our own, we can fertilize tremendous growth of knowledge from within.

With the Sun and Mercury exactly conjunct in Gemini and in square to Neptune in Pisces, with Mars in Gemini in sextile to Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, we have a regenerating, liberating well to drink from within us even though the current events dominating the global stage are filled with instability, violence, discord, and oppression.  An image that comes to my mind in association with the strong Gemini energy of the Sun, Mercury retrograde, and Mars is that of a WITNESS to life in all of its complex depth, a witness who is then willing to serve as a messenger to inform the surrounding society about what is going on in secrecy behind the proverbial locked doors Mercury can open for us.  When we express the full story we are witnessing within and around us, we beam our light into the collective matrix and move others with the emotive, wakening wind of Mercury.

“World” can be a comprehensive idea if as an autonomous entirety it accommodates the observer as if he were moving about in the world he normally is surrounded by.  The world of the Iliad or that of the Odyssey accommodates us in this way.  Every such world, however, is at the same time a worked-out idea of the world that existed already prior to this expression of it and that lent itself to the finished expression of the idea.  There can be no “world”- even if it is the purely spiritual epiphany of an intellectually luminous god- which is not “worldly,” that is, which does not function as a space to contain the content of the revelation in a fitting way.  If a god is “idea” and “world,” he remains nonetheless in connection with the world that contains all such “worlds”; he can be only an “aspect of the world” while the world of which he is an aspect possesses such idea-aspects. Indeed, it has the ability to shine forth in its totality as idea, it possesses the light of the idea, and is itself in its own way lighted and clear . . . “Light” and “clear” in the sense of “world-like” – and therefore convincing – could also be the idea of Hermes.

— Karl Kerenyi (p. 69) Hermes:  Guide of Souls

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini stationing direct

Germination by Odilon Redon (1890-96)

To find my home in one sentence, concise, as if hammered in metal. Not to enchant anybody. Not to earn a lasting name in prosperity. An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness.

Czeslaw Milosz (1981-1983)

After Mercury separates from its inner merging with the Sun, the Sun moves on to initiate a conjunction with Mars in Gemini, as Mercury begins its shifting ways again and starts to station direct. The Sun conjoining Mars in Gemini constellates images of a warrior of words, a passionate poet, an intellectual activist who refuses to collude with oppressive powers and instead expresses her voice in defiance to surrounding injustice.  The Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini as Mercury stations direct germinates our desires with inquisitive thoughts that can reveal new meaning for us through the juxtapositions of language and philosophies we encounter.  At the same time the Sun and Mars are coming together in Gemini, Mercury is stationing direct in range of a square to Neptune that is also stationing retrograde simultaneously.  We have had four years so far to experience the meaning of Neptune in Pisces by transit, and in the first couple of weeks in June 2015 we can receive illumination of any Neptunian illusions that have been sourcing our conditioned beliefs.  As an illusion of Neptune is unveiled, in the winged steps of Mercury we will be able to experience a sharper sense of clarity and direction to follow forward.

In this final phase of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Gemini, one of the most significant transits is the ingress of Venus into the fiery, solar sign of Leo during the first week of June.  Venus in Leo ignites a creative actualization of the mental contents the Mercury retrograde has been brewing, and by the time Mercury stations direct Venus in Leo will have passed through a beautiful sextile to Mercury in Gemini.  There is a potent re-integration available at this upcoming stationing direct of Mercury at five degrees of Gemini, that can unbind and untether us from restrictive thought patterns.  This potential release can be seen in the transits of the Moon conjoining Uranus in Aries at the time of Mercury stationing direct, with the Moon-Uranus conjunction in Aries being in sextile to the Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini and in trine to the Jupiter-Juno conjunction in Leo.  Within this magical mix of astrological aspects, Mercury will arise from the underworld at dawn and with a flash of light illuminate our waking horizon as our Morning Star again.

Hermes, draw near, and to my pray’r incline,
Angel of Jove, and Maia’s son divine;
Prefect of contest, ruler of mankind,
With heart almighty, and a prudent mind.
Celestial messenger of various skill,
Whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill.
With winged feet ’tis thine thro’ air to course,
Emblems of Mercury O friend of man, and prophet of discourse;
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine
In arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine.
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain,
Of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.
Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod,
Corucian, blessed, profitable God.
Of various speech, whose aid in works we find,
Emblems of Mercury And in necessities to mortals kind.
Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere,
Be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;
Assist my works, conclude my life with peace,
Give graceful speech, and memory’s increase.

–from the Orphic Hymn translated from the Greek by Thomas Taylor (1824)

MercuryStationRetroWRIGC2A

MercuryInferiorConjunctWRIGC1A

MercuryStationDirectWRIGC3

References

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2011). Selected and Last Poems, 1931-2004. HarperCollins.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.

Stein, Murray. (1999).  Hermes and the Creation of Space.

Mercury retrograde in Cancer and Gemini: in Moon and Mind

Mercury bronze

Mercury (bronze, early 16th century, Italian), The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • May 23, 2014:  Mercury enters retrograde shadow zone of 24°23′ Gemini

  • June 7:  Mercury stations retrograde at 3°10′ Cancer

    • Mercury stations retrograde in trine to Neptune stationing retrograde in Pisces (Neptune stations June 9)

  • June 12/13:  Full Moon at 22°06′ of Gemini–Sagittarius

    • Venus in Taurus opposes Saturn retrograde in Scorpio exactly two minutes before the exact Full Moon in Sagittarius

  • June 17:  Mercury re-enters the sign of Gemini

  • June 19:  Inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun at 29° Gemini

  • June 21:  SOLSTICE

  • June 26:  Lunar occultation of Mercury as Mercury leaves combustion zone

  • June 27:  New Moon at 5°37′ of Cancer

  • July 1:  Mercury stations direct at 24°23′ Gemini

  • July 12: Full Moon at 20°03′ of Cancer–Capricorn

  • July 13:  Mercury re-enters the sign of Cancer

  • July 16, 2014:  Mercury moves beyond it’s retrograde stationing degree

Mercury retrograde time periods have gained a fearful notoriety in popular culture despite being an astrological gift we can enjoy with pleasure three times a year, in order to re-focus, re-tune, and re-integrate the interplay between our thoughts and expression, for a release from our previous patterns of perception.  Just as there are multiple intelligences, there are multiple levels of perceptual and communicative awareness: even though our business/economy obsessed global culture (that has been dominating other cultural mindsets for centuries) attempts to demand linear and efficiently rushed communication more focused upon punctuality than quality, it does not mean that it is the perceptual and communicative mindset we are meant to function through at all times in our lives.  Indeed, planetary cycles such as the Mercury retrograde phase demand that we have a lunar ability to embrace a new phase, or suffer the consequences.  Perhaps the popular culture fear of Mercury retrograde cycles come from, in the end, the manipulative plutocratic agents dominating our culture who do not like the general populace becoming more watery and reflective, and harder to control as a result.

This particular Mercury retrograde is fascinating in the context of the major astrological cycles of 2014.  For example, there is a clear link between this Mercury retrograde cycle and the one that occurred earlier this year in February:  then, Mercury stationed retrograde conjunct Neptune in Pisces, and now, Mercury stationed retrograde in Cancer in a trine to Neptune in Pisces.  Since Neptune is also in the midst of stationing retrograde right now, it means that we have an especially Neptunian Pisces retrograde cycle of Mercury to explore once again.  The year of 2014 has brought forth a series of transits capable of facilitating everything from a shift to complete liberation of past patterns, as we have had a Venus retrograde, Mercury retrograde, Mars retrograde, Cardinal Grand Cross, eclipses, and the fifth of the exact first quarter squares between Pluto and Uranus.  To receive a Mercury retrograde at this time is a blessing enabling us to reflect upon the first half of this year of shifting, in order for us to break free with clarified focus into uncharted territory in July, August, and September.

Mercury delivering Bacchus

Bacchus as a child given by Mercury to the care of the Nymphs (Andrea Procaccini, The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Mercury is the psychopomp who can transgress boundaries, move from the upper world to the underworld and back again in order to save and guide souls.  In myth Hermes/Mercury transports the infant Dionysus/Bacchus, the divine child at risk of being murdered, into the safety of nymphs who raise the child in disguise as a girl.  In line with this myth as metaphor for this Mercury retrograde, we can imagine our own divine inner child in our core surrounded by loving nymphs, nurtured to grow into an authentic presence that expresses our essential nature without inhibition.  While it is important to learn a healthy sense of boundaries as we grow up, we can also restrict ourselves into rigid categories of our culture such as swirl around concepts like gender. The fact Hermes took Dionysus to be raised as a girl in secret by nymphs connects with the Mercurial willingness to use deception and mystery if necessary to work the Mercurial magic of mediating a sense of the in-between, unifying opposites into wholeness.  Mercury can be at its most secretive and magical during it’s initial descent into the underworld in the week and a half before its inferior conjunction, acting as a magician capable of uniting the light and dark aspects of our psyche together.  During the first half of this year we may have felt yearning for an identity or sense of self beyond the boundaries of recent cultural conditioning we have been living within.  If we have any lingering fears or trepidations around this new direction for ourselves, this current Mercury retrograde cycle can help us separate  from recent limiting thought patterns in order to re-connect with the essential seed we wish to keep and plant,  like  finding our divine inner child we can raise to take great risk in our outer environment during the second half of 2014.

Children are magical, fantastic, and imaginal and yet many of us lose touch with this primary part of our nature as we become conditioned through growing up in our society.    When Mercury slows into its retrograde motion, the linear and logical modes of communication we learned as adults do not function as smoothly, and instead the world of dreams, omens, intuition, hunches, and imaginal divination we are more connected with in childhood come to the forefront.  Demetra George has taught that the phase of Mercury’s retrograde journey into the underworld in order to reunite with the Sun at the inferior conjunction is similar to Mercury in Pisces, a placement that in traditional astrology has the fun label of being in both detriment and fall.  Sure, if you want to create an orderly, logical, rational, hyper organized academic essay at this time focused like a laser on a well-crafted thesis statement, this phase of Mercury may not be the best for you.  But who would want to be writing or reading something like that all the time?  Instead, if you want to enjoy passionate and poetic language that evokes the senses and emotions on such a deep level that it can be a struggle to imagine which particular words can best capture the feeling aroused in you, this phase of Mercury will reward you.  During this Mercury retrograde in particular, with Neptune in Pisces stationing retrograde at the same time, we will feel the pull to dive into the inner realm of our unconscious, perhaps even our collective unconscious, into the magic of dreams and divination, into awareness of symbols surrounding us like signs guiding our intuition forward along a mysterious path unfolding step by step.

2 of cups by pixie

2 of Cups image by “Pixie,” Pamela Colman Smith

The stationing Mercury of this time is in Cancer, a sign ruled by the Moon.  Demetra George has taught that the time of Mercury descending into the underworld during its retrograde phase is like the Balsamic phase of the Moon where we enter a liminal space of past thought patterns dissolving as a new vision of an emerging self prepares to be born at the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun.  In astrology, the Moon is the luminary and Mercury the personal planet with the strongest connection to our mind, to the connection between our thoughts, our response to events and relationships in our environment, and our manner of navigating our world through communication.  This particular Mercury retrograde has a deeply dark moon feel to it that could feel disorienting with Neptune stationing simultaneously, and yet by transit we will actually be experiencing a waxing Moon becoming Full during the first week of this Mercury retrograde cycle.  Indeed, less than a week after Mercury stations retrograde we will experience a powerful Full Moon on June 12/13 that occurs literally two minutes after an exact opposition between Venus in Taurus and Saturn retrograde in Scorpio.  If we can go within to search for the insights beginning to rise from our personal underworld during this initiatory time of the Mercury retrograde, we may find them lit up in sharp relief with lunar luminosity at the time of the Full Moon this week.

This deliciously complex mix of astrological energy connects well to me with the fact that Mercury stationed retrograde in this cycle in the first decan of Cancer, a decan connected to the 2 of Cups in tarot.  In the image of the 2 of Cups above by Pamela Colman Smith, we can synchronistically even notice a Mercurial caduceus ascending from the cups of  lovers in mirror image, evoking the alchemical nature of the sign Gemini that Mercury will re-enter as part of this retrograde cycle.  According to the astrologer, magician, and alchemist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, the first decan of Cancer has the image of a crowned young Virgin full of love, and indeed the 2 of Cups like the first decan of Cancer has become associated with the union of masculine and feminine energy into harmony and pleasure, and the manifestation of love.  And yet, there is also a warning in this card and decan that connects to a stationing Neptune, in that new attraction can also be full of folly and lead to great dissipation of energy.  Since Venus in Taurus will oppose a retrograde Saturn in Scorpio at the same time as a Full Moon in Gemini and Sagittarius a week into the Mercury retrograde, we will be forced to confront any illusory aspects of our developing passions and calling.  Mercury being retrograde in the first decan of Cancer at the time of the Full Moon opposition between Venus in Taurus and Saturn in Scorpio is a perfect tool for mediating the polarity into a unified sense of greater wholeness in our being. Since this is a Full Moon occurring during the magician phase of Mercury’s journey into our underworld, we have the capacity to use imagination and vision disciplined into the focused depth of Saturn in Scorpio to bring form to the Venusian values that will delight our body and mind.  In any event this can be a powerful time of an alchemical merging within ourselves, a re-tuning for our heroic self to begin to emerge with a new vision during this Mercury retrograde cycle.

The degree of Mercury’s stationing in Cancer points to the vital importance of heroic discernment at this time to trust the calling of our soul, and to refuse to pull back from our calling out of fear.  According to Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala book of Sabian Symbols:

Cancer 4 keynote: An attempt at self-justification

We are still involved in the results of an act which brought about a radical reorientation of one’s life . . . A multitude of lesser decisions inevitably follows the big and grand gestures of repudiation and realignment.  The desires of the body still drown the voice of the “new man.”  One argues with oneself, hoping to convince oneself that the old impulses are still legitimate (p. 112).

Again, just as Hermes delivered the infant Dionysus to be mothered by nymphs in order to save his life, so we will also need to intuit during this Mercury retrograde how to nurture the seeds of our liberation from past limitations we found during the intense eclipses and Cardinal Grand Cross of the past couple of months.  It is human nature at times like this to talk ourselves out of embodying a new presence, to fear the disorientation of the new and have the urge to remain in the familiar patterns of the past.  Yet, if we can allow what is rising from our imaginal nature at this time to begin to take form in our mind and thought processes, we will have the opportunity for an epiphany of what needs to be cut away and what needs to be kept to create the life we want to live-  Saturn retrograde in Scorpio through its full confrontation with Venus in Taurus will help make what is not nourishing our growth obvious.

Symbolically, we will in fact be heading for what Dane Rudhyar called a “crisis in consciousness” at the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun on June 19, as the inferior conjunction occurs at the same time as a Last Quarter Moon in Pisces that squares the conjunction of Mercury and the Sun.  This Lunar phase can be about disillusionment, especially so with a Pisces Moon squaring a Gemini Sun, and a sense of discontent in the realization of old, limiting thought patterns that are hindering the evolution of our consciousness and need to be released so our mind can midwife the new vision developing in our soul’s womb.  In particular, the last quarter moon phase highlights the conditioning of our culture and place of birth as a target for self-questioning and skepticism, in order to discern what thought patterns we will want to destroy at this time and which ones we want to re-integrate into our developing new vision.  The sabian symbol for 29 degrees of Gemini of “the first mockingbird of Spring” speaks to our ability to shift feeling of discontent at this time into artistry such as song and music, weaving our emotions into melodious sounds that transform frustration into love and beauty.  Dane Rudhyar analyzed this symbolic degree of the inferior conjunction as “the reaction of the individual who has become sensitive to many life currents in his environment and who is able to exteriorze this welling up response as a gift to his society, displaying VIRTUOSITY” (p. 108).  If we are already working on developing a particular craft or art form to express ourselves, this will be a perfect time for a final re-tunement; instead, if we are only at a point of discovering what exactly we wish to focus on to develop, this is a perfect time to eliminate thought patterns getting in our way of following through on a new passion and to set an intention to devote ourselves toward cultivating our calling, whatever it is.

athena and hermes

Athena and Hermes (?), German engraving, 19th Century, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Another archetypal figure facilitating a heroic journey for us, in tandem with Mercury, is Pallas Athene.  At the time of Mercury stationing retrograde, Pallas Athene is in Virgo in sextile to Mercury and in opposition to stationing Neptune in Pisces, becoming exactly opposite Neptune at the same time that Neptune stations retrograde on June 10, 2014.  Amazingly, Pallas Athene was also opposite Neptune in Pisces last November of 2013 following the intense eclipses and fourth square between Pluto and Uranus in this cycle, just as now Pallas Athene after a retrograde journey earlier this year returns to once again oppose Neptune in Pisces following another intense eclipse season and the fifth square between Pluto and Uranus in this cycle.  In tandem with Mercury and Neptune stationing at the same time, clearly something is up here.

It pleases Pallas Athene to be in Virgo, a zodiac sign with strong associations to her archetype.  In myth, Pallas Athene has already proven herself worthy of defeating Neptune/Poseidon as they each competed to be the ruler of Athens and Pallas Athene won through her gift of the olive tree that was selected for its beauty and functionality, its practical use in healing, shelter, and other expressions that benefit society. Similarly, Pallas Athene being in Virgo at this time also lends us a powerful archetypal tool-set to utilize in our personal and collective projects, inspiring in us a sharpened focus to penetrate to the core of any issue we are facing.  In opposition to Neptune in Pisces, however, she must be careful of delusion and illusion, falling under the influence of blind faith or an inability to distinguish between what is real and unreal in our environment. Yet, these potential pitfalls of Neptune being in opposition to Pallas Athene are the exact sort of obstacles that Pallas Athene being in Virgo is equipped to combat: in Virgo, according to Demetra George, Pallas Athene has an “analytical perception” that can sense “the essence of things in their simplest forms apart from the surrounding superfluous complications,” like “separating the wheat from the chaff” or “the wisdom of discrimination” (page 103).  This is perfect symbology to utilize during a Mercury retrograde phase in which we can uncover what is true to our nature and what is false, to plant at this time of Solstice to later reap for personal and collective benefit.

bronze herm

Bronze Herm, ca 490 B.C., Greek, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Demetra George has lectured on the connection of the Mercury and Hermes archetype with the heap of stones called “Herms” in ancient times that marked grave mounds, eventually becoming landmarks in a time without roads to guide and protect travelers.  Just as the Herm guided the living toward their journey as well as toward their dead, so Hermes became a god of boundaries:  an archetype marking the boundaries of roads between cities and villages, the boundaries between the sacred and profane, and the boundaries between the living and the dead.  Fittingly, this current Mercury retrograde marks the boundary between the shifting of the first half of 2014 and the unfoldment of the second half of 2014.

In particular, this Mercury retrograde re-connects us with the transits involved in the Cardinal Grand Cross of April 2014, allowing us a final re-integration of the changes wrought in our life from that time period.  The inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun happens just before the June Solstice point, and the Mercury retrograde cycle holds within it the return of Mars in Libra moving direct to re-engage for the last time Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries.  Indeed, just after the Full Moon of June 12/13 that happens at the same time as Venus in Taurus opposes Saturn in Scorpio, there will be the final square between Mars in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn on June 14.  This final square in this cycle between Mars in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn happening just after a Full Moon could be explosive, but since we have already experienced this aspect twice already in the past seven months, the third time could also truly be the charm.  This time we will more clearly have the opportunity to overcome the frustrating aspect of this last quarter square dynamic between these two heavy hitters, as past confrontations since the end of 2013 have probably already helped us eliminate many aspects of our life not serving our authentic will-force.  Now following a glowing Full Moon with a harsh opposition between Scorpio Saturn and Taurus Venus that will further focus us on what we do and do not want in our life, we can use the Mercury retrograde timing of this final square to make a final release of negative past thought patterns in order to make our pure intuition more fully accessible moving forward.

Then, at the end of the Mercury retrograde cycle when Mercury is beginning to station direct, Mars in Libra will oppose Uranus in Aries on June 25.  In stark contrast to the square between Mars and Pluto in this Mercury retrograde cycle occurring after a Full Moon, this opposition between Uranus and Mars will occur in a Balsamic Moon phase.  The similarity to the square between Mars and Pluto in this Mercury retrograde cycle, however, is the fact that this aspect will electrify the old thought patterns we wish to discard during this Mercury retrograde, making what needs to be released in our mind more obvious.  Yet since this opposition between Mars and Uranus occurs during a balsamic moon, we will feel more in the mystery of it all, a little more like fumbling around in the dark when we are struck by the lightning bolt of Uranus opposing Mars.  Mercury at this time is separating away from the Sun about a week away from their inferior conjunction, and as there is a magical lunar occultation of Mercury on June 26, I feel like if we have learned to adapt to the modus operandi of Mercury retrograde by this point we will be able to integrate some significant insights out of the opposition between Uranus in Aries and Mars in Libra at this time.

Fantastically, in the following week we will experience a New Moon followed a few days later by Mercury finally stationing direct at 25 degrees of Gemini.  Thus, the lunar connection with this Mercury retrograde is even more profound than the simple fact Mercury stationed in the lunar sign of Cancer, as we will have a beautiful Crescent Moon forming in Leo as Mercury stations direct.  I love the fact that the New Moon, a time of re-visioning, will occur while we are still under the auspices of Mercury retrograde, and that Mercury will finally station direct during a Crescent Moon, a lunar phase of fighting off the ghosts of past limiting thought patterns in order to find the resources we need to move forward in our evolution within ourselves and surrounding us in our environment.  Dane Rudhyar described the sabian symbol where Mercury stations direct as “the revelation of archetypal form and essential existence,” a place where we discover the essential:

At this third level of “exteriorzation” a contact with archetypes and pure forms of individual selfhood is to be sought–also with the characteristic image of the culture. Externals are left behind. This is a step beyond “pruning”; it is rather a process of removal of all superficialities of existence.  Cyclically, nature helps us to reach this state of bare reality.  It is not that we experience the Buddhist’s void (sunya), but rather that we reach the essence of our individual being, the form of pure selfhood which is the structuring power underneath all external features–all that belong to the “leaf” realm (p. 106).

So prepare to go into the trunk of our tree during this Mercury retrograde, and all the way down into our roots, into our underworld.  In the end we will create beautiful blossoms and bonny green leaves that will dance in the wind for all to enjoy.

References

George, Demetra. (2008). Hermes: Guide of Soul. Lecture.

George, Demetra. (1994). Finding Our Way through the Dark. AFA.

George, Demetera with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.

The Tarot and the Decans: http://www.tarot.org.il/decans.html