The Astrology Blog 15 March 2021
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“The curious thing about love is that it can only be given freely … no amount of good behavior will create love or bring it back when it has fled. You have to learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served.”
“Depression – the Way Out of Your Prison” – Dorothy Rowe
Psychologist and author – 17 Dec 1930 – 25 March 2019
MERCURY OUT OF SHADOW
At the end of last week’s blog one of the last points was to note that Mercury was coming out of shadow. The astronomy of this is that a planet “turns” retrograde when starting to make a loop backwards through the heavens, and therefore from our vantage point on planet Earth appears to be in reverse. When that meandering stops the planet is further back in the sky/sign than when it started, in Mercury’s case always about 15 degrees, and that is the moment when the planet “turns” direct again.
When the full loop is completed that is when the planet returns to the position at which it originally turned retrograde, this is the “out of shadow” moment and it signals that the planet is back up to full speed –
- 30 January – Mercury turned retrograde at 26 Aquarius
- 21 February – Mercury having looped back 15 degrees then turned direct at 11 Aquarius
- 13 March – Mercury gets back to 26 Aquarius
This also translates into Mercury being in Aquarius since 8 January, so over two months in the same sign, whereas when Mercury is at full speed his journey through one sign takes about two weeks.
If you have planets or Angles at between 11 and 26 degrees of this sign then you’re no doubt aware of what’s been dragging on or the decision that was hard to make but you should now have either definite results, or clearer pointers to the way forwards, especially as Mercury’s last aspect while in Aquarius was the third and final conjunction with benefic Jupiter on 5 March.
We’re moving on, as this week starts with a full speed Mercury also entering the next sign of Pisces –
Monday 15 March
- Mercury ingress Pisces 22.28
And here’s the onwards journey between now and the next retrograde phase, which for Mercury is three times a year for three weeks at a time –
- 4 April – Mercury ingress Aries
- 19 April – Mercury ingress Taurus
- 4 May – Mercury ingress Gemini and then starts slowing down
- 29 May – Mercury turns retrograde at 24 Gemini
The astrology of Mercury emerging from shadow brings us back as ever to the “as above, so below” principle. So it’s always important to clock what comes to light for you at these times and to note how any information or ideas can be used for problem solving, decision making or general understanding.
Sometimes this moment can bring more clarity than the time when Mercury turns direct, or it can simply add to the picture that has already been emerging. At the end of this blog I’ve reposted the list of general themes to look out for.
In the news this moment has coincided with The Netherlands joining Bulgaria, Denmark and Norway who have all paused the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over fears that it may be linked to blood clots. WHO is adamant that there is no connection and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), currently carrying out a review into incidents of blood clots, says the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks.
The fact that these concerns have emerged under Mercury’s fine timing makes me think it could go either way – that real information has come to light or that the shadows thrown over the AZ vaccine will be lifted. As one of my doctor friends says, and I paraphrase from a conversation a couple of months ago –
“You can’t eradicate side effects with any medication, someone somewhere will be allergic to it – eg penicillin – but that doesn’t mean it should be withdrawn. But it’s important to be aware that a headache, arm ache, feeling rough after the jab are not side effects, they’re reactions. Side effects are what emerge at a later date.” That made sense to me as I remember being inoculated for typhoid. I thought my arm had been whacked by a baseball bat, but it lasted three days. I remember thinking well if having typhoid feels anything remotely like this then am glad I’ve been inoculated!
I share that story because I want to be clear that I am definitely not anti vaccination per se, and I wouldn’t want to use astrology to push my own opinions either way, but in terms of a medication’s benefits outweighing the risks, doesn’t it all depend on how big those risks are? What does the astrology suggest? At this point we should remember that Neptune rules pharmaceuticals but that this god of the seas is also brilliant at manipulating, drowning, clouding and/or escalating the issue. But for several first world countries to suspend the AZ there’s obviously a big enough question mark, which is unlikely to be just Neptunian paranoia. “We can’t allow any doubts about the vaccine,” Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said. “We have to make sure everything is right, so it is wise to pause for now.”
This big Mercury moment also coincided with the Pisces New Moon on Saturday and I was hoping to make some headway with Summer School plans. The information that came to light as I sat down to research flight options definitely added to the overall rethink and rescheduling that’s been going on as I immediately discovered that Easy Jet are profiteering – again. They did the same thing when Monarch airlines and then Thomas Cook went bust. Between them they used to bring in thousands of tourists to holiday destinations, including Lefkada, and Easy Jet quickly monopolised the market.
This time they are profiteering because the UK restriction on international travel is due to be lifted on 17 May and my first course is rescheduled for 19 May. A one way ticket into our local airport of Preveza on that date is being advertised for over 600 quid. They know that there’s going to be a mad rush to international airports and that people will be so desperate to get away that they’ll pay stupid prices. Needless to say I’m furious. There’s no way that I will be asking or expecting my students to pay anywhere close to that kind of amount for their flights. The prices for Elisabeth Brooke’s week 26 May are for some reason not part of this escalation so do get in touch asap if you’re interested in that week.
Elisabeth and I also talked on the phone on Saturday and the conversation went around in enough confusing circles for us to reschedule a chat for next weekend on the Spring Equinox instead. If you’re looking for any kind of major fresh start the Sun arriving in Aries is pretty much unbeatable!
Historically, however, things do balance out again. The last time Easy Jet asked for those astronomical prices they gradually came down again, especially nearer the departure dates. But it means another wait and see, which is currently compounded by the fact that Greece is in a massively strict lockdown. Several areas throughout the country have been placed in “red zone” and some have been moved further into “deep red zone” including Lefkada. It’s the only hope of rescuing a summer season.
As things stand, as stated before the blog, Greece will open to tourists from May 14, providing they have received a Covid-19 vaccine, have antibodies or supply a negative test result. But of course in addition to that we want Lefkada to return to being the safe haven that it was last year. Am getting the message that May/June Summer School is probably going to be a case of last minute.com ….
On a lighter note Mercury’s out of shadow moments can also be timely reminders and wakeup calls with regard to what happened, or didn’t happen, when the lights were out! It’s a bit like eclipse symbolism. Within a couple of hours of Mercury coming out of shadow on Saturday I received an email, my adorable landlady in Athens wanting to know if I was alright as for the first time ever she hadn’t received my rent on the 1st of the month. I was dumbfounded. I actually had to check my bank account, thinking for one awful moment that I’d done something really stupid like paid the wrong person, but no, I’d simply forgotten. This was also the New Moon falling conjunct her own Moon in her 2nd House (income). She couldn’t have been nicer about it.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING THIS WEEK?
Both the Sun and Venus are on their last leg of their journey through Pisces, and both are heading for a link with Pluto, their last aspects before they both change sign and move into Aries at the weekend –
Tuesday 16 March
- Sun 26 Pisces sextile Pluto 26 Capricorn 18.24
Thursday 18 March
- Venus 26 Pisces sextile Pluto 26 Capricorn 17.18
Saturday 20 March
- Sun ingress Aries – The Spring Equinox – 09.39
Sunday 21 March
- Venus ingress Aries 14.17
- Mercury 8 Pisces sextile Uranus 8 Taurus 23.36
In terms of the aspect the sextile is harmonious, formed when two planets are exactly two signs apart – ie two feminine signs aligning (earth/water) as seen here, or two masculine signs aligning (fire/air). In other words, there are no rough edges, they have plenty in common. However, in terms of the planet involved with the Pisces Sun and Venus, Pluto is Pluto, and he’s not easy even by good aspect.
Before I go any further I should add that the last fortnight, which has been dominated by Pisces/Neptune themes, has also not been easy! In practical terms people have asked me if this is showing their plumbing problems? Yes! The sign of mutable water with the god of the boundless sea …. My kitchen tap fell apart just last night.
More seriously though and last week in particular there were so many FB posts linking the astrology to the seductive side of Pisces – magic is in the air, be super romantic, find your psychic side, your higher self and so on – that I wanted to scream at the nonstop glamourising. Someone even used the word fairytale. In my view this is the way that some astrologers let astrology down, by not being willing to admit to how hard life can be, as reflected in the themes of Saturn and all of the tough outer planets that come after him.
I’m sure there were people who found moments of spiritual joy but I personally didn’t see any evidence of that. What I did experience, at times dramatically so, in nearly all of my client and student work, and in developments in the lives of my close friends and even in my own family, was the Pisces/Neptune link to the 12th House, the Vale of Tears, the realm of confinement, loss, grief, suffering and sacrifice. In this last couple of weeks I’ve been connected with those suffering from crippling depression, insomnia, terminal illness, a suicide attempt and the fuzzy, debilitating haze of ongoing grief. No wonder I forgot to pay my rent.
This showed in the collective too with the outpouring of grief for the tragedy of Sarah Everard –
On International Women’s Day every year (8 March) British MP Jess Phillips reads out the names of all the women and girls killed over the previous 12 months, where a man has been convicted or charged as the main perpetrator. This year it fell on the day remains were found in the hunt for Sarah Everard, and she read out 118 names. “Dead women is a thing we’ve all just accepted as part of our daily lives,” Ms Phillips told Parliament. “Killed women are not vanishingly rare. Killed women are common.”
Of the 118 separate tragedies, why did Sarah touch a nerve? Because she was out walking alone, which so many more of us do now in these pandemic days? Because she was young and beautiful? Because she was white? Because she wasn’t “just” murdered but abducted? Because her murderer was a police officer, someone who was supposed to protect not attack? Because her fate triggered all of the bottled up fear, pain and anger of pandemic loneliness, and became the outlet for that deep human need for connection? Some news reporting even likened the pictures of heartbroken women clinging to each other to the death of Diana, arguably the most famous Neptunian of them all.
Whatever the reason, the dam has burst, and not just in the UK. This morning’s news also included a report of tens of thousands turning out to marches across Australia, protesting against the sexual abuse and harassment of women in the country. It’s a reminder of the backdrop to the year, the Saturn – Uranus square, that in terms of civil unrest has so far shown so clearly in Russia and Myanmar, where attempts at peaceful protests have gone so horribly wrong because of heavy handed and nonnegotiable authority. As if to get the message across in no uncertain terms not even the vigil for Sarah on London’s Clapham Common could be broken up without police brutality against the women taking part. At least in the UK there will be sackings, which am sure is part of the Pluto activity this week.
BACK TO PLUTO – AND LOVE – OR IS IT CONTROL?
So this week the Sun and Venus (women universally as well as love/money) link to Pluto, so what does this planet stand for?
- In psychological terms and life events – main principle is endings/beginnings, often starting with significant loss, death of the old and the birth of the new, therefore transformative processes, potential of deep healing. Scorpios or those with a powerfully placed Pluto are often characterized by resourcefulness and nearly always have at least one life experience of surviving an ordeal and starting from scratch. One of the symbols is the Phoenix, the legendary bird that arises from the ashes.
- In mythology – Pluto = Hades, god of the underworld, best known for the Rape of Persephone or the Abduction of Persephone. Rape in this context refers to the traditional translation of the Latin raptus, “seized” or “carried off”, but again and again Venus/Pluto combinations have shown in relation to sexual violence, most recently in the Venus – Pluto conjunction in the chart of Princess Latifa’s father.
- The dark side of Pluto is secrets, taboos, control, power, abuse of control/power especially towards women (Nazanin Zaghari–Ratcliffe has Moon and Venus in Scorpio, the feminine planets in Pluto’s sign), darkness, obsessions, addictions. This planet can also signify those who are physically or emotionally absent, or a wealthy individual (the plutocrat, plutocracy or plutarchy being a society ruled or controlled by people of great wealth or income)
If you are in any kind of abusive relationship the message is loud and clear – find a way out. If you know of anyone trapped by domestic violence again the message is clear, help them find a way out.
What about if you’re in a relationship that is not blatantly abusive but which is unhappy, stifling or just plain wrong? What if your heart is set on someone who is not responding or who is unavailable? What if you’ve fallen out of love? There’s nothing more depressing than love gone wrong, hence my choice of quote this week from the brilliant Dorothy Rowe who specialized in depression.
Pluto messages are again clear, end it or mend it. If anything is un-mendable this is the week when that will become obvious, especially at the end of the week when the Sun and Venus both reach 29 Pisces, the end of the sign which is the position of a Fixed Star called Scheat which is linked to suffering.
THE SPRING EQUINOX
Yes, it’s not a very cheerful picture so far is it? But such is life. Part of being immersed in the Neptune/Pisces world is to bring us up against our sadness or confusion. If nothing else it’s a massive reality check, but astrology’s biggest message of all is always “this too shall pass”. If you’re struggling you’re not alone, it’s been a long cold journey this year, but the blaze of the long awaited Spring Equinox is now just days away.
This is the moment when the Sun enters Aries, his sign of “exaltation” (best placing), the first sign of the zodiac and the official beginning of the astrological New Year. It’s fabulous for individuation – in other words, anything that gets you back to you, anything that reconnects you with your sense of self, a healthy ego state, positive self esteem and a sense of entitlement. This can run the whole gamut of a difficult time coming to its naturally appointed end to deciding that your doormat days are over, it all depends on the context of your own life events and especially if you have planets or Angles at the end of Pisces or the beginning of Aries.
But for all of us 0 degrees of Aries is the ultimate spark of the life force. No matter what is going on around you, if you get your energy and identity back the world will feel like a different place. This is all underlined by the fact that Venus immediately follows the Sun into this sign, and these two will meet up next week when we have the Sun – Venus conjunction that happens only once a year, and I’ll be talking more about this next time,
Until then, keep looking forwards,
With love from Greece
MERCURY OUT OF SHADOW THEMES
What to Expect – out of our control
- Tipping points and turnarounds for the better – even if it doesn’t seem that way we’re being steered onto the right path
- Matters that have been stuck now start to pick up speed OR are no longer important
- Breaking news, expected or unexpected, that affects you or someone close to you
- Information comes to light, secrets are revealed or feelings are declared – you’ll have the chance to see things as they really are
- Your own or other people’s changes of heart/mind either way – ie from no to yes or vice versa
- Light bulb flashes of the “I get it now” type insights
- People get back to you or you get back to them – deals get done and papers get signed
- The right person appears to deal with the frustrating problem beyond our own expertise
- The reappearance of someone or something that was first important three to four weeks ago
- Finding what you’ve been looking for – whether it’s lost objects, spiritual needs or the right partner
What to Do – within our control
- Engage fully with who or what enters your life or springs back to life, especially with who or what is motivational for you
- Say yes to a date, or do the asking yourself – this person could be a whole new journey of discovery
- Initiate conversations – you’ll be amazed at what they reveal and where they lead
- Have you been over thinking it? Resolve to stop talking about something and just DO IT!
- Muster your courage and determination – there’s at least one thing that, with some renewed energy and a fresh approach, can now come good
- Stop people pleasing, pretending or avoiding – be true to you and tackle the things you’ve been putting off
- Make those decisions, especially when changing anything that’s suited others but which isn’t that great for you
- Make job applications or chase up one already made – insist on an interview, it could be the best thing you ever did
- Update and upgrade your phone, tablet or desktop, and get your head around using new technology of any kind that could be useful to you
- Fill up your diary with things to look forward to, out in the world where possible or online. Plan in immediately at least one thing that you absolutely love doing and can still do regardless of whatever restrictions you’re up against – life is still to be enjoyed, not endured.