The Astrology Blog 24 February 2020
Retrograde Mercury, Healing & Happiness
All times in GMT
“When I dwell with you, I do so in the present – I live in the present. Not the past, although much can be remembered and learned by looking back. But only for a visit, not for an extended stay.”
The Shack Wm Paul Young
I’m back from my three weeks away and, as you may remember, I wrote in the last blog that I’d be travelling home under a newly retrograde Mercury, something I would normally avoid at all costs but on this occasion there was no way around it. I said that no doubt there would be a tale to tell as the textbook definition of Mercury switching to reverse is “problems with transport and communication”.
Sure enough almost exactly at the moment of Mercury’s turnaround in comes an email from British Airways warning that Athens local transport was on strike and that there would be no buses or metro to the bus station (an hour away). For a brief while I felt quite smug as I’d already had to change my travel plans at the last minute for other reasons, and had opted to make a connection in Athens for a domestic flight to Ioannina (2 hours from where I live), so I was bypassing the need for any buses or taxis anyway.
I checked in on time but, at the very moment we were supposed to board, the airline announced a delay owing to weather conditions. As I sat in Athens looking out of the window at blue skies in 18 degrees of sunshine and not a breath of wind this was the last thing I expected. It was only when I got a text from the friend waiting for me at the other end (who’d had to make a very early start via a garage as the night before she’d discovered a flat tyre) that I found out what was going on, that Ioannina was shrouded in fog and it would be impossible to land until it cleared.
As I sat and waited another text came in from my dog minder to say that my big dog Zindzi had gleefully escaped into the fields opposite my house after a visitor left the garden gate open. I then spent the next hour giving instructions on how to get her back, and of course this was the one thing that I’d omitted on my detailed list of instructions for house and animals! You could stand in a field waving a leg of lamb at Zindzi and she would never come to you. She still has it seems some distant memory of being trapped and tied up before she came to us as a rescue dog.
Happily the instructions eventually worked and the fog eventually cleared. But some of Mercury’s retrograde periods are worse than others and I’ve noticed before that when the turning point is especially notable then there is usually a lot more to come ….
Pisces and the 12th House
Mercury turned retrograde last Monday at 13 degrees of Pisces, one of his signs of “detriment” (where the qualities of the sign are incompatible with the planet), the sign of mutable water, co-ruled by Neptune, god of the seas who rules mists, fogs, anything that is uncontainable and which spreads in visible or invisible ways. Like viruses. We all know what’s in the news, and the fear that the corona virus has created. Such health disasters reach animals too. One of the first bit of news that I heard on my return that the local cat sanctuary had just been hit by a feline virus and that there had been heavy losses the day before, including my two favourites. Heartbreaking.
Pisces belongs to the 12th and last House, traditionally known as The Vale of Tears. Although this sign and house link to spirituality this is not usually the stuff of fairy tales or mysticism of the glamourous kind, if indeed any such kind exists. More accurately this is the area of the horoscope that speaks of loss and suffering, as it is through our pain that we truly grow, and the oceanic world of grief. Pisces/12th House also relate to extreme sensitivity and vulnerability, sacrifice and how we care for those we love.
How we heal is, I feel, a more than usually crucial issue for many people at this time. At the PA (my workshops venue that was founded in 1965 by R.D. Laing in order to challenge established ways of treating mental distress) I was talking to one of the therapists there last weekend. I can’t name him because I didn’t ask permission but I commented on how my work, experiences and a string of losses over the last few years had made me feel that we don’t ever really heal. His answer was something along the lines of no, that comes from the child’s perspective, and was said in the kindest and most non judgmental way imaginable. He made me want to go back into therapy. But I got it, and said, “Ah… kiss it better.” Sagittarians can sometimes be endearingly or annoyingly childlike in their world view! This recalled another conversation last year with friend and top psychotherapist Paul Hitchings who reminded me that wounds don’t disappear, they leave a scar. Even if the scar stops being agonizingly painful, it’s still there.
All of this was in my mind when I chose the quote for this week from The Shack, and thank you to Chris Bolton for lending me this book. It’s extraordinary and impossible to describe, so just read it! Mercury sloshing around in Pisces may feel like being caught in fishing nets, drowning in past sorrows, but we must still try to stay in the present, to learn from the past when we revisit it, but not outstay our welcome.
Forewarned is Forearmed
Regardless of the sign, these are the kind of themes to look out for when Mercury is retrograde, some of which you may already be experiencing or which may yet unfold during the next two weeks –
- Guard against trying to construct situations or distress yourself with regard to anything beyond your control. Forcing any kind of round pegs into square holes won’t be worth the effort and could cost you dearly
- Adopt the mantra of one day at a time … going too far ahead creates anxiety, especially with problems which have no clear or immediate answers
- Know that there are things you don’t know – yet
- Try to operate by “re” words – review, revise, research, reappraise, rethink, repair, redress the balance and so on. Also remember rest and relaxation, give the brain some time off and try not to put yourself under unnecessary pressure
- Expect cancellations or rescheduling of appointments or personal arrangements
- Buy yourself time wherever needed – keep options open
- When in doubt, check it out – second hand opinions are a dead cert for getting hold of the wrong end of the stick – and don’t believe everything you hear
- Write things down and double check everything – forgetfulness, being distracted, inattention etc can be a troublesome theme
- Back up all your computer work
- Don’t delete any documents – you may need them at a later date
- Getting back to ideas on the back burner
- Getting back in touch with those who’ve been neglected or important to you in the past – let them know how much they matter
- Keep a close watch on all belongings – especially keys or anything linked to communication such as phones, laptops, tablets, cameras etc and don’t even think about buying new ones for the time being
- The same for cars – never buy any mode of transport under a retro Mercury
- Plan any journey with extra care, don’t trust to luck, don’t travel unless you have to and make sure tickets are covered on your insurance
- Kill your speed when driving – allow extra time for getting there slowly but safely
- Take extra care with form filling/signing on dotted lines – paperwork and admin of all kinds are a minefield
- Decide to ease the pain or cool the resentment. Write the letter you can’t send or you’ll never send – whether it’s to someone you’ve lost or to someone you want to strangle it’s great therapy
- Turning this the other way around you can also write a letter to yourself from someone you’ve lost – which is even greater therapy. I’ve done this in the past, from my twin Sue, and it was unbelievably powerful
- Stop trying to fix others – just focus on yourself. Changes starts with us, and within us, from the inside out, not the other way around
- Assume nothing. No matter how certain a situation might seem there is a good chance that it will morph into something else over the next couple of weeks – the “x” factor is at work …
- Reserve the right to change your mind/keep an open mind. As you start to see something from a different angle the truth, reality or logistics will evolve in a way that you couldn’t possibly have planned or expected
- KEEP A SENSE OF HUMOUR J
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING THIS WEEK?
We start the week with a triple act of Mercury aligning with the Sun and Mars –
Tuesday 25 February
- Sun 6 Pisces sextile Mars 6 Capricorn 02.07
Wednesday 26 February
- Sun conjunct Mercury 7 Pisces 01.46
- Mercury 6 Pisces sextile Mars 6 Capricorn 06.00
Mars is a helpful presence here, being the planet of action and in his sign of “exaltation”, ie the sign that is most compatible with a planet’s qualities. With retrograde Mercury signalling that some things are unravelling you may find that there’s a lot of old ground to cover, or that matters that had already been arranged or resolved in a supposedly watertight way could spring leaks. This hard working and goal orientated Mars suggests that we can refocus and get things sorted if we’re prepared to put in the effort. Also accept help from someone capable, or who clearly knows what they’re doing.
Another helpful factor is that whenever Mercury is in a retrograde period there’s always an exact conjunction with the Sun somewhere roughly in the middle. This is when Mercury is said to be “cazimi” – when he’s conjunct the Sun to within 17 minutes of arc (ie just over a quarter of a degree) and therefore in “the heart of the Sun”.
The symbolism of this is about Mercury drawing strength from that heat instead of being burned up by it. It’s a window of opportunity – it doesn’t last long! – but it’s the stuff of light bulb moments, vital information or having the chance to get your point across exactly in the right way and at the right time. In that hot spot is a golden nugget of truth or a lifeline of help.
This cazimi lasts from approximately 23.45 (Tuesday) to 04.45 (Wednesday) so for many of us it’s in our sleeping hours but even so look out for that Mercury moment, especially things that shine a light into your understanding, help you to make a decision, negotiate a deal or find the right words to get an important conversation started. Write down your dreams and don’t ignore your instincts.
Mercury makes another aspect at the weekend to Uranus. As this is one of the outer slow moving planets this means that Mercury has already made this aspect once, ie before turning retrograde. As Mercury loops backwards the aspect is repeated, and will be again for a third and final time after Mercury turns direct, and here’s the full sequence –
- 5 February – Mercury 3 Pisces sextile Uranus 3 Taurus first time
- 29 February – Retrograde Mercury 3 Pisces sextile Uranus 3 Taurus second time
- 10 March – Mercury turns direct
- 22 March – Mercury 4 Pisces sextile Uranus 4 Taurus third and final time
Pay special attention to what happens on this middle contact, especially as it coincides with a tough aspect between Venus and Pluto –
Friday 28 February
- Venus 24 Aries square Pluto 24 Capricorn 22.07
Saturday 29 February
- Mercury 3 Pisces sextile Uranus 3 Taurus 03.14
You may find that these two aspects relate to two different things or they could be connected. Uranus stuff is usually totally unmistakable. As the rug pulling planet of shocks and surprises he’s the loose cannon of the heavens and therefore unpredictable, so expect the unexpected. The thing you couldn’t possibly have seen coming is Uranus’ specialty and being in tandem with a retrograde Mercury is a double whammy. If nothing else it’s a big reality check, possibly highlighting the crux of a matter or bringing the event that you’d given up on but which then springs back to life and changes everything.
For some this will relate to love issues as it coincides with Venus squaring up to Pluto, planet of endings and black holes. Any relationship that is already past the point of rescue is likely to reach crunch point. Any relationship in trouble needs ruthlessly honest and in depth work. If you’ve been conscious of papering over the cracks this coming weekend is when it could all come unstuck again. At a more general level don’t hang on to anything or anyone just for the sake of it or out of fear. And at a more day to day level also look out for girlfriends in crisis, cancellations, disappointments or financial issues. Venus is primarily about love and relating but she also rules money and life’s pleasures.
On that note my quote of the week comes from my niece who has her hands full with 8 year old twins, who are obviously bottomless pits when it comes to draining her finances, but who told me that the best moment of last week was a couple of hours in the park. It was there that they laughed, played and generally had fun. She said it reminded her that, “The price of happiness is actually nothing.”
Until next week,
With love from Greece