Mercury Retrograde in Taurus & Aries

Fingal_s_Cave,_Island_of_Staffa,_Scotland_by_Thomas_Moran,_1884-5,_High_Museum_of_Art

Fingal’s Cave, Island of Staffa, Scotland (1884) by Thomas Moran

Mercury Retrograde

For one throb of the artery,
While on that old grey stone I sat
Under the old wind-broken tree,
I knew that One is animate,
Mankind inanimate phantasy.
— W.B. Yeats, A Meditation in Time of War

In the cool air of twilight as the Sun descends below the horizon, Mercury begins its journey into the underworld as a retrograde planet.  While changing into the role of a psychopomp as fluidly as vespertine colors transfigure into the darkness of nightfall, Mercury retrograde opens us to a liminal perceptual space which offers guidance in between life transitions and the crossing of thresholds.  Mercury delights in the part of a cunning guide of soul during its retrograde phase, beguiling all with unforeseen twists best handled with intuitive receptivity to direction.  On April 9 Mercury will begin its retrograde within the earthy home of Venus, a twenty four day passage that will take it back into the fiery home of Mars where it will hold lengthy counsel with Uranus.  As Mercury will station retrograde less than a week before the current Venus retrograde ends with Venus stationing direct, there is an incredibly volatile atmosphere at the beginning of Mercury’s retrograde which will require constant focus on recalibrating the connection between our perceptions and translation of meaning.

Within the rulebook of astrology, Mercury refuses to be caged in by categorizations of gender or preference for day or night.  However, since Mercury begins its retrograde period as an Evening Star, it finds accord stationing in Taurus since the nocturnal sign of the Bull is both the exaltation of the Moon and the domicile of Venus.  Mercury stationing retrograde in the inwardly receptive sign of Venus will lead us to find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties as we will be drawn into our corporeal senses and instincts.  Fittingly, Hermes in myth is bound to the fertility and life force of nature, a seductive mediator who reveals the spiritual found in the profane and the profane that may be discovered in the spiritual.

Mercury caduceus by Bradley

Mercury caduceus glyph by Bradley Naragon

Hermes was born in a cave, a fitting origin to his destiny as subterranean caves were the temples of our ancestors where Spirit was received in the flesh.  In the instinctual sign of Taurus our Mercurial capacities turn within so that our diverse senses take precedence over rational analysis.  Similar to how Mercury in alchemy conjoins the animating spirit with its earthy body, the full bodily perception available with Mercury in Taurus brings nonverbal insight into the world-creating spirit concealed in material forms.  Along these lines it is fascinating that Taurus is the heliocentric South Node of Mercury, for Mercury does not move at a fast pace in Taurus but rather sustains a slowly churning rhythm grounded into the sensuality of the moment.  The plodding, patient, and thorough movement of Mercury in Taurus also helps bring awareness to practical considerations and focus on developing and nurturing work and relationships toward their full potential.

In popular astrology there are many warnings to not start businesses, sign contracts, make important purchases, initiate relationships, or basically make any major life decisions while Mercury is retrograde.  It has also become common parlance even among those with minimal astrological understanding to not only complain about Mercury being retrograde, but to blame all technological mishaps and communication breakdowns on the phenomenon of Mercury appearing to move backward through our zodiac.  However, Mercury being retrograde is not a cursed anomaly but rather an essential aspect of Mercury, as essential as sunset is to sunrise.  Very successful businesses, contracts, and relationships of all sorts can begin during Mercury retrograde, but it is more important than normal to pay attention to our intuition with regards to the choices we make and the ventures we begin.

During Mercury retrograde the orbit of Mercury comes in between our Earth and our Sun, bringing Mercury as close to us as it ever gets.  In the resulting amplified atmosphere of Mercury, it is vital to maintain keen awareness into the synchronous interplay between sights, sounds, and other senses within our environment.  It is further paramount during Mercury retrograde to pay attention to gut instincts and the symbolic meaning of omens and other oracular messages that cross our path whether from our nightly dreams or daily travels.  Our inner life will need tending especially during the first week of the Mercury retrograde in Taurus, as Mercury will be ruled by a Venus that is also retrograde but in the process of stationing direct.  Since Venus is in her exaltation of Pisces while simultaneously forming a catalytic relationship with Saturn, our sensual perceptions will receive sharp and potent messages and we will need to navigate an inner sea of emotions that can become turbulent at times.

great work le triomphe hermetique

from Alexandre Toussaint de Limojon de Saint-Didier’s Le Triomphe Hermetique (1689)

Mercury rules the first face of Taurus where it stations retrograde, giving Mercury greater natural aptitude to do its work of interpreting and communicating meaning.  The astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that the Mercurial first face of Taurus holds resonance with the thorough and patient planning necessary to develop future harvests.  Mercury is under the full influence of Venus at the beginning of its journey as it is in both the home and the bounds of Venus, with Venus at a standstill in her exaltation of Pisces.  The fact that Mercury initially moves retrograde ruled by Venus retrograde, with Venus forming a conjunction with Chiron and a square with Saturn, cannot be overlooked or downplayed.  It will be necessary during the initial movement of Mercury retrograde to face the truth of our external reality as well as our full interior realm of feelings without denial.  Whatever needs nurturing, adjustment, alteration, or rebalancing will be revealed if we are paying attention, and with the gained awareness we can begin to modify our decision making and development of goals.

Since Mercury is also stationing in the exaltation of the Moon and close to the specific exaltation degree of the Moon, it is compelling that its retrograde begins with a waxing gibbous Moon on its way toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Libra and an especially dynamic Full Moon in Libra the following day.  Not only will the Full Moon at the beginning of Mercury’s underworld journey be conjoining Jupiter, but the Sun will also be united with Uranus while the Full Moon itself forms a challenging square to Pluto in Capricorn.  In short it will be impossible to miss the messages Mercury intends to send at the beginning of its retrograde, as significant illumination will show up in both collective and personal events revealing what was previously hidden or unclear.

As Mercury will move all the way back into Aries where it will eventually station in conjunction with Uranus, the fact Mercury retrograde begins with a Full Moon that connects both the opposition between Uranus and Jupiter as well as the square between Uranus and Pluto is pivotal.  Jupiter at the time of the Mercury retrograde is volatilizing the square between Uranus and Pluto, having recently moved away from an exact opposition with Uranus to form an exact square with Pluto.  As a result it’s not so much that unexpected developments are going to be appearing out of nowhere during the first phase of the Mercury retrograde, more that a fresh perspective can be revealed toward storylines that have been developing over time.  Mercury in its psychopomp role can provide the guidance needed to discern our next step if we are paying attention, helping us find our place within the tumultuous shattering and shifting of collective structures occurring all around the world.

The Mercury retrograde in Taurus also serves as a finale for the transit of the lunar nodes through Pisces and Virgo, with Mercury serving as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon.  Mercury will station in range of a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and when Mercury unites with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde it will also be closely trine to the North Node of the Moon.  After Mercury stations direct on May 3, the true nodes of the Moon will shift into the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius and the North Node of the Moon in Leo on May 9.  The lunar nodes have been in Pisces and Virgo since 12 November 2015 (true node calculation), a time period that has lived up to the mutable sign significations of immense change, endings, and transitions.  While its possible that the Mercury retrograde will coincide with circumstances bringing up a review or reflection upon the life changes that have occurred since November 2015, it is also likely that opportunities and boons will present themselves enabling us to integrate final lessons and make new choices resolving our experience with the Virgo North Node.

marlene-seven-roasting-cinnabar

Roasting Cinnabar (2017) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

That Light who’s smile kindles the universe,
That Beauty in which all things work and move,
That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse
Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love
Which, through the web of being blindly wove
By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
The fire for which all thirst, now beams on me,
Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats

Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on April 19 or 20, depending upon your location, the moment in which Mercury unites with the Sun at the exact degree of the zodiac.  When Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun, labeled its inferior conjunction by astrological texts, Mercury is aligned with our Earth in between our orbit with the Sun, as close as Mercury ever gets to us.  This moment is experienced as a rebirth of the Mercury archetype within our lives, and at the time of its union with the Sun, Mercury is said to be in its seat of power, like an empowered Hermes taking a turn behind the reigns of our solar chariot.

Venus in Pisces rules the union between Mercury retrograde with our Sun, and significantly at the time of their union Venus will have recently stationed direct and will be applying tightly to her final square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  There is a fascinating relationship between Mercury being cazimi (at the heart of the Sun) and the Venus retrograde of 2017 for the Venus retrograde began with Mercury cazimi in Pisces while direct, meaning that Mercury was on the other side of the Sun from us.  As Venus begins to move direct again as a Morning Star, we once again experience a regeneration of Mercury, this time with Mercury close to us in orbit.  The harmonious relationship between Taurus and Pisces is part of the reason why Venus is considered to be exalted in Pisces, as their relationship supports staying true to one’s inner values while dissolving blockages in support of making the needed alterations to manifest inner visions.

The sabian symbol for the first degree of Taurus where Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs is “A CLEAR MOUNTAIN STREAM” with the keynote of The pure, uncontaminated and spontaneous manifestation of one’s own nature according to Dane Rudhyar.  The union of Mercury and the Sun being ruled by Venus in a tight square with Saturn may make it difficult to picture spontaneous manifestation if you hold certain astrological dogma in mind, however in truth there is no reason that spontaneous authenticity cannot arise in response to the cold necessity of Saturn.  Mercury is being purified within our central light of Spirit fire at the same time Venus in her exaltation degree is calling us to take accountability and integrity into expression of our deepest love.  Within clear boundaries of structure, instead of feeling repressed or hemmed in there can arise an improvisational display of our primal creativity.

Mercury retrograde at the heart of the Sun also occurs during a last quarter Moon in Aquarius on its way toward an eventual New Moon in Taurus, the inner home of Venus, as well as with Mars at the final degree of Taurus.  Thus though Mercury is at the first degree of Taurus and Mars at the last, both are still within the domain of Venus in her exaltation of Pisces.  The powerful Venusian influence upon this moment further amplifies potential to reveal inner desires and values needing to emerge into awareness, with the last quarter lunation helping us dislodge from old preconceptions. In addition, it means that shortly after Mercury unites with the Sun a mutual reception between Mars and Mercury will begin through Mars entering Gemini, the airy yang home of Mercury, and Mercury crossing back into Aries, the fiery yang home of Mars that forms a harmonious sextile with Gemini.  Fittingly, we can still discover Venus in the relationship formed by the signs Mercury and Mars will enter as traditionally in astrology Venus has always stood as the symbol underlying the meaning of the sextile.

Matta Being With

Being With (1946) by Roberto Matta

Mercury stations with Uranus

What constitutes the training of the hand?
I shall tell what constitutes the training of the hand.
One suspects something is wrong with transcribing signs
But the hand transcribes only the signs it has learned.
Then it is sent to the school of blots and scrawls
Till it forgets what is graceful. For even the sign of a butterfly
Is a well with coiled poisonous smoke inside.

Perhaps we should have represented him otherwise
Than in the form of a dove. A fire, yes, but that is beyond us.
For even when it consumes logs on a hearth
We search in it for eyes and hands. Let him then be green,
All blades of calamus, running on footbridges
Over meadows, with a thump of his bare feet. Or in the air
Blowing a birchbark trumpet so strongly that farther down
There tumbles from its blast a crowd of petty officials,
Their uniforms unbuttoned and their women’s combs
Flying like chips when the ax strikes.

Still it’s just too great a responsibility to lure the souls
From where they lived attentive to the idea of the hummingbird, the chair, and the star.
To imprison them within either-or: male sex, female sex,
So that they wake up in the blood of childbirth, crying.

— Czeslaw Milosz, Sentences (1963-1965)

This particular Mercury retrograde is especially jolting, catalytic, and compelling because Mercury will spend an extraordinary length of time in conjunction with Uranus in Aries.  Truly out of the ordinary, Mercury will spend over three weeks from April 20 through May 16 in range of a conjunction with Uranus in Aries.  There will two distinct phases of Mercury uniting with Uranus, the first from April 20 through May 3 when Mercury is retrograde and invisible under the beams of the Sun- during this period Mercury will unite with Uranus on April 28.   Mercury and Uranus combined brings sudden awareness that can synthesize previously fragmented strands of thought and analysis instantaneously in the flash of the moment.  In the process of being purified and regenerated from its recent union with our Sun, Mercury in this period has not taken visible form and similarly our Uranian insights and revelations may feel more unconscious and not clearly seen.

28 April 2017 looks to be a pivotal day not only because of Mercury uniting with Uranus, but also because on the same day Venus will re-enter the sign of Aries.  As Venus re-enters Aries, she moves away from her square with Saturn in Sagittarius at roughly the same time Mercury is forming a trine with Saturn (Mercury retrograde will trine Saturn exactly on April 24).  It is compelling that as we have been dealing with Saturn in square to Venus all month long, we end up with Mercury combining with Uranus in a trine to Saturn.  As a result we can receive revelatory ideas into how to make minor modifications as well as major reformations into the issues dredged up during the time of Saturn in square to Venus.  It could feel like breakthrough insights are intensifying in our subconscious, ready to burst through into our conscious awareness with blazing comprehension.

After Mercury stations direct on May 3 it will emerge in the sky above the moist dew of morning, heralding the return of solar light at sunrise as a Morning Star.  Making the atmosphere more electric, the Moon in Leo will form a fiery triangle in our sky with Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn on May 3 when Mercury stations direct, increasing the likelihood of inspirational insights entering consciousness that address whatever challenges we have been dealing with.  Mercury visible and direct will form another conjunction with Uranus on May 9 and a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius on May 11, with a Full Moon in Scorpio falling in between these aspects on May 10.  Although Mercury is not seen as having essential dignity in the third face of Aries, Mercury emerging direct as a Morning Star does resonate with the diurnal sign of the Ram that is considered to be the exaltation of our Sun.

In addition, as Mercury stations and moves direct as a Morning Star while in Aries it will be in mutual reception with Mars moving forward through Gemini, with Venus co-present at the beginning of Aries.   As Venus retraces her steps through the previous section of Aries that she moved retrograde through in February and March, there will likely be some unexpected developments to contend with.  However, Mercury united with Uranus while in trine to Saturn supports a ready mental faculty that can swiftly respond and initiate new structural supports to help stabilize whatever has become volatile.  Mercury up at the crack of dawn, crowing like a rooster, is in an invigorating position of immense curiosity and exploration that can open us to a flow of creativity in response to life.

It is noteworthy that Mercury’s retrograde phase involves stationing in the Earth element and going back to the Fire element, echoing the retrograde that took us across the threshold of 2017 that went from Capricorn to Sagittarius. In August we will experience another Mercury retrograde that goes from Virgo back into Leo.  This transition from Earth to Fire in some ways is like a foreshadowing of the movement from Fire to Earth we will enter in 2018 as Saturn will move from Sagittarius into Capricorn, and Uranus will move from Aries into Taurus.   Some of the shifting adjustments needing to be found during the current Mercury retrograde will have far reaching impact, especially considering that Mercury ends up stationing direct with Uranus.  Early warning signs of what we need to prepare for in the year ahead may enter our awareness at the same time we are finding it necessary to deal with the pressing issues of the moment.

References

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2006). Selected and Last Poems 1931 -2004. HarperCollins.

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

Yeats, W.B. (1989). The Collected Poems revised second edition. Edited by Richard J. Finneran.  Scribner Paperback Poetry.

Advertisements

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Hathor cow woman

Hathor Menat (1390–1352 B.C. Egypt)

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

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

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

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

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

Hermes_Ingenui_Pio-Clementino

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

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

— John Banville, The Infinities, p. 14

Star of Hermes

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

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

26.8.98

Hathor Mirror (1479–1425 B.C. Egypt)

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury in the home of Venus

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Prince, “The Beautiful Ones” from Purple Rain

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

yaroslav forest

by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

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

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

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

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

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

—e.e. cummings

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

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

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

Remedios Varo solar music

Musica Solar by Remedies Varo

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

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

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

MercuryCazimiWRIGC1

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

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

man ray plume

Plume (1942) by Man Ray

Mercury Stations Direct

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

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

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

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

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

–Carl Jung, from The Red Book: Liber Novus

References

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

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

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

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

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