The Astrology Blog 4 November 2019
“Don’t try to force anything. Let life be a deep let-go. God opens millions of flowers every day without forcing their buds.”
“A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.”
Retrograde Mercury – the Story so far …
Mercury turns retrograde (loops backwards) three times a year for three weeks at a time. As I said last week the “textbook” definition for these times is “problems with transport and communication”, which is deceptively brief. This heading encompasses everything from journeys to admin to technology to the words we say. (You’ll find the usual more extensive checklist for things to look out for at the end of the blog.) When I was explaining this to a Greek friend he listened closely and then said, “so Mercury is upside down”. Brilliant. I couldn’t have come up with a better description myself!
It sometimes feels as if these times are designed to turn our worlds upside down, but why? To teach us patience, vigilance and how to problem solve, not to mention how to handle frustration? To look at why our life is upside down, at who or what is blocking us from getting things the right way up again? Some people seem to come through Mercury’s trickery unruffled and unscathed – I never do – but if you’re one of the lucky ones then at least look out for those who aren’t! At least at the moment we know that if things are upside down then they’re supposed to be. But it’s extra important to offer help where it’s needed now and over the next couple of weeks.
The latest retrograde cycle started last Thursday. This is what happened on Friday –
- I spent two hours in the phone shop trying to sort out problems with the new phone that I’d got the week before, which include amongst other things no longer synching with Whatsapp on my desktop and not receiving email to my main email account, only to gmail which I use as a backup address.
- Even the expert guy in the shop, who looks about 12 so he’s definitely an expert and my go-to person for phone issues, couldn’t explain the Whatsapp problem or get the email working. He rang OTE (the equivalent to BT in the UK) to get their new settings but of course nobody was able to provide the right information and only said, “we’ll call you back”…..
- Friday was also the 1st of the month, the day I pay my rent. I went into my Greek bank account online only to be told that my password had to be changed. I dutifully did this, and was then told that my current password was incorrect…. oh you mean the one I’ve been using for the last six months with no problems? I hadn’t even typed this in, it came up automatically. The chat/help box on the bank website wasn’t working ….
- Throughout the rest of Friday and part of the weekend I tried every suggestion that came my way re how to fix my Whatsapp, including all the obvious things like uninstalling the app, reloading it and restarting the computer, and even plugging the phone into the computer to get them to talk to each other, all to no avail. I’m now awaiting a home visit from the Technoshop in town, “we don’t know when we can come, we’ll call you”….
- I sent my passport application… I had to tell a small lie to get around the problem of providing utility bills, which would also have to be officially translated, for my home in Greece. Nothing is in my name and my address is a PO box. I told you that retrograde Mercury fibs!
- I had a message from our man with a van who does regular trips from UK to Greece and back again. He’d collected from me a friend’s three boxes – all beautifully labelled with her name, address and phone number – only to ring her when he got to the UK to arrange a delivery time to find that she’d written the number wrong.
- A friend told me that she received a call from her doctor’s surgery on Friday morning, saying that they had her blood test results – five months after the hospital appointment when the blood was originally taken. At the time she was told that everything was okay, but now they want her to come in and talk to her doctor about something they’re not happy with. It’s not the first time that I’ve clocked that retrograde Mercury links to negligence coming to light, not just in the present moment but also from the past.
And all of this was just Friday and it’s not everything either – amongst my many lovely students and clients I got news of a mental breakdown and being hospitalised, the loss of a highly paid job, an emergency appendectomy (Scorpio’s link to 8th house of surgery), big problems with putting care in place for an elderly parent, a “never felt so low” relationship crisis … but I won’t go on …. you all know who you are, let the astrology be your guide through Scorpio’s black holes. And read on to my closing statement of this week’s blog.
All of these issues are important but in particular, with Scorpio’s links to hidden things, health and healing (this sign has been mooted as a possible sign of dignity for Chiron, the Wounded Healer) I definitely think that there’s a bigger picture message here about taking responsibility for our own health and well being. If you’re not happy about any health matter don’t hesitate to make a nuisance of yourself, pester for answers, get a second opinion and so on.
The other “bigger picture” message is not to be surprised when you find yourself questioning beliefs or expectations that have always been safe or reliable in the past. Retrograde Mercury rewrites our script and forces us to re-evaluate. If you’re let down then take a step back and check your assumptions. My departed brother always used to say that when something went wrong then sooner or later the word “assumed” would crop up. There are several stories that I’m privy to at the moment that bear this out. A therapist friend wrote to me at the weekend –
“I have been talking quite a bit recently to people about them hoping friends would behave as they would in the same circumstances”. And for herself, after a traumatic incident, “What did for me was not the event, though it was shocking. It was that the support I anticipated wasn’t there and I think I wasn’t believed.”
She also wrote, “How can that happen?!! It did. Moving on…” which is a healthy attitude from which we can all learn. Don’t hang on to the distressing or disorientating issues that Mercury’s throws at you. Look at it, learn from it, move into acceptance and then you can let it go.
What Else is Happening this Week?
I’m going to jump to the coming weekend first as, while we’re on the subject, this is when Mercury’s only aspect is happening –
Sunday 10 November
Pluto = invisibility, change at the deepest level, leading either to reinvention or endings
- Mercury 21 Scorpio sextile Pluto 21 Capricorn 02.13 GMT
As Mercury is now backtracking this means that the aspect to Pluto has already happened once, it’s now being repeated and will happen for a third and final time after Mercury goes direct (20 November) and comes back again –
- Mercury 21 Scorpio sextile Pluto 21 Capricorn – 19 October
- Mercury 21 Scorpio sextile Pluto 21 Capricorn – 10 November
- Mercury 21 Scorpio sextile Pluto 21 Capricorn – 3 December
Mercury – Pluto combinations are not easy to interpret. Pluto is the co-ruler of Scorpio and, as already flagged up, this sign links to hidden issues. In traditional astrology Scorpio is one of the “mute” signs and as Derek Appleby wrote in his wonderful book Horary Astrology (the astrology specifically for questions) “Mercury retrograde can indicate that there is more information to come; but also when mute signs are prominent it can show that not all has been revealed. The more (planets) that occupy the mute signs the more likelihood there is of secrecy.”
So in addition to the general patience and problem solving themes, this second and middle contact may start to explain why you didn’t have the full picture first time around or why you still don’t. If you sense that something isn’t adding up, it isn’t. And for a reason. This is especially relevant to you if you have planets at 21 degrees of Scorpio (my Ascendant) or Capricorn, or their opposite signs of Taurus and Cancer. Look back to see if something significant happened on or close to 19 October (it did). If so then there is more to come. I might tell you more after 3 December! (The day after my birthday…)
Superficial conversations will probably be next to useless. Dig deep if you want to find out how someone really feels or why they believe what they do, you’ll have to be fearless if you want to get to a therapeutic level instead of falling out. Rifts created at this time will take a long time to heal. Real understanding and connection could take you to another level.
This middle contact can also bring news that will change your plans, show you where you’ve been doing things wrong, what’s not working, what’s upside down… Back to the drawing board. Patience! In any complex situation there’s almost certainly more than one strand running through the weave and pulling them all together will take time, because it’s not just about Pluto (ie it’s not just about one thing). Next week Mercury will make the second of the three aspects to both Saturn and Neptune (in Pisces, another mute sign), who are themselves hugely important right now, which I’m coming to.
Coming back to the beginning of the week it doesn’t exactly get off to an easy start –
- Venus = love, money, pleasures
- Quinqunx = minor but blind spot aspect, Square = blocks, discord
- Mars = love/lust, action
Tuesday 5 November
- Venus 4 Sagittarius quinqunx Uranus 4 Taurus 07.10 GMT
- Mars 21 Libra square Pluto 21 Capricorn
Venus is much happier having left the previous sign of Scorpio (one of her signs of detriment). She’s not “dignified” in Sagittarius but as Elisabeth Brooke wrote last week Venus loves to indulge and loves the party spirit side to fiery and larger than life Sag. However this awkward link to unpredictable Uranus can throw a spanner in the works. Avoid risk taking or going with along with anything that you can’t afford. Be aware when you’re being fobbed off or that you might be missing the point. Mars in square to Pluto can also write off a plan or any chance of real negotiation. You can only negotiate when the other party wants to listen. Whatever grinds to a halt the best policy is to give in gracefully. See the checklist below for “stop trying to fix things”.
Some things are simply bigger than we are and when the slow moving planets come together these often indicate matters that are in the hands of Fate. That is what’s happening now and especially at the end of the week, as Saturn and Neptune align for the third and final time, with the Scorpio Sun playing into the aspect the day beforehand –
Friday 8 November
- Sun 16 Scorpio sextile Saturn 16 Capricorn 17.07 GMT
- Sun 16 Scorpio trine Neptune 16 Pisces 17.58 GMT
Saturday 9 November
- Saturn 16 Capricorn sextile Neptune 16 Pisces 12.52 GMT
Here are the first two links that have already happened this year –
- Saturn 15 Capricorn sextile Neptune 15 Pisces 31 January
- Saturn 19 Capricorn sextile Neptune 19 Pisces 18 June
The rarer the aspect, the more significant it is, so to put this in astrological perspective the last time these two met by sextile was again a three-legged transit 27 June, 17 August 1995 and 15 March 1996, and the next time they meet by sextile will be a one off transit on 27 June 2031.
If you have planets or Angles between 15 and 19 degrees of Capricorn/Pisces – or the opposites Cancer/Virgo – then this current sequence will be especially applicable to your life. Planets or Angles between 15 and 19 degrees of Scorpio and the opposite sign of Taurus are also picking up the pattern.
- Saturn activity indicates work, effort, ambition, setting goals, responsibility, limitations, restrictions, frustration, illness, bereavement, events unfolding slowly or wishes being denied, the arrival of those who are of professional value to us, those with whom we develop a serious relationship or with whom we feel a karmic connection.
- Neptune activity indicates fusion, the fuzzy world of falling in love right through to the suffering of loss or personal sacrifice. Positives – experiences that are visionary, magical, mystical, spiritual. The flip side is confusion, uncertainty, delusion, deception, soul searching, a lack of purpose or direction, being “all at sea”, events that make no logical sense, surrender, dealing with manipulative behavior.
In other words, they have absolutely nothing in common. Saturn is the grown up, the rule maker, the reality checker and never moves the goalposts, Neptune just swims around everything and is uncontainable. But they are both strong in their own signs and the best possible outcome of this liaison is that big dreams (Neptune) can become a workable reality (Saturn). Alternatively, broken dreams or shattered illusions may be the very things that redirect you to the life you’re supposed to be living, to the person you’re meant to be, but which you’d lost sight of. Once you’ve stopped crying about it.
It IS possible to rebuild (Saturn) a life after tears (Neptune). But it’s never an overnight sensation, even if it looks as if it is.
For example, the last time Saturn and Neptune came together by conjunction was in Capricorn, making the exact aspect three times –
- 3 March, 23 June and 13 November 1989
The Berlin Wall was thrown up on the night of 13 August 1961. 28 years later, “In 1989, a series of revolutions in nearby Eastern Bloc countries – Poland and Hungary in particular – caused a chain reaction in East Germany that ultimately resulted in the demise of the Wall.” (Wikipedia)
The wall fell on 9 November, just 4 days before the exact end of the sequence, leaving us in no doubt that no matter how tough Saturn’s barriers might be, Neptune can dissolve them. Water can permeate just about anything given time. What seemed to be an overnight event actually linked to a process of change throughout the year. Note that it’s often the third of a series of three major contacts that brings the true outcome.
If you’re going through any kind of process of change that fits with the Saturn – Neptune symbolism then look back to events on or close to 31 January and 18 June and see if there’s a link. Anything that is now dissolving has probably got long roots back to the beginning of the year and the summer.
I would finish with what might be a controversial statement. With the absolute exception of bereavement (which is the pits, and in another compartment) nearly always the worst thing that we think could happen turns out to be a crucial turning point. I accept that I’m an incurable Sag optimist with a Scorpio “you can always start again” Ascendant, but it is so often the case. For example I’ve had two property evictions in my life – the first one in London over 25 years ago (felt like the end of the world) was actually the tipping point re leaving the UK and coming to Greece. The second one liberated me from a beautiful but expensive to run villa full of sad memories and brought me to this house where I’ve now been for two years and which is my perfect little sanctuary, offered to me exactly on the day that Jupiter (good fortune) transited my Neptune, a transit that happens only once every 12 years, leaving me in no doubt that it was a gift from the gods.
We haven’t seen much of Jupiter recently but he’s back in the picture next week, along with the Taurus Full Moon.
Until then, may your silver linings glitter with gold,
With love from Greece
Forewarned is Forearmed
These are the kind of themes to look out for, which you may already be experiencing or which will unfold during the next three 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