Mercury Retrograde : A Time For Reflection

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“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioning ability of man to evaluate his life by a conscious endeavor. – Henry David Thoreau

Once again, Mercury retrograde is upon us. The winged messenger will be doing it’s thing in apparent backward movement from April 28, 2016  until May 22, 2016.

For many of us, this time of year brings a wave of concerns about issues related communication and the transmission of information.

One of the features that makes astrology incredibly rich is the diversity of perspectives that we have to draw from. It’s an extremely eclectic art. There are a myriad of viewpoints that you can expose yourself to regarding any given astrological phenomenon. All which may be quite valid and applicable.

For those who may not know:

retrograde motion is the apparent backward motion of a planet. During this time, the drives or principles related to the said planet may not be able to express themselves in as forthright and powerful manner as when the planet is moving forward, or in direct motion.

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So…. what does the planet Mercury symbolize?

The principle or drive to communicate, the exchange of ideas, what we think about, intellect, speech, the distribution and medium for all types of information, the written, printed and spoken word.

Mercury is similar to a messenger. It’s impersonal. The energy is more geared toward the distribution of information than placing a particular label on it like “good” bad”, etc.

We’re all familiar with the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” aren’t we?  We may even go as far as to say that the use of the information isn’t even of great concern, but “getting the word out” is paramount.

it’s accurate to say that the energy is ripe for communication breakdowns, travel delays, mis-speaking, mis-quoting, not receiving phone calls, e-mails, faxes and texts. By all means, we will want to “double up” and use our avenues of communication to the fullest extent.

However, another perspective worth considering is that Mercury retrograde can also serve us as a period of personal review and assessmentA time of reflection.

We can capitalize on the energies of this phase by engaging in deep introspection regarding the validity and workability of the strategies, ideas, and methods we’ve been employing in our daily lives.

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If we view our lives as a book, Mercury Rx is the editing stage before we put our words “out there” for people to read. We cross our t’s and dot our i’s.

Astrologer Erin Sullivan states: 

“When Mercury goes retrograde, it seems to be an appropriate time for redoing, rethinking, reassessing, reevaluating- anything with the prefix re- in front of it.

“A Mercury retrograde period is a time to catch up on things, to complete unfinished projects, to write that letter you’ve been meaning to write or pay that long outstanding bill, and generally to reassess the affairs of the house or area of life through which it is moving backward, and to plan your next move in this domain.” 

“It may not be the right time to take action on your plan, but it is a time to plot out future moves for when it turns direct again.” (Source “The Inner Planets: Building Blocks of Personal Reality” a seminar by Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas)

If we examine critically enough, this perspective can be applied to virtually every area of our lives. Let’s re- review, re-examine and re-edit, so we can emerge from this period with a renewed and clearer sense of direction.

Astrology and Twitter: Much More Than 140 Characters

 

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(photo: dailyvenusdiva.com)

I enjoy social networking. More specifically, I like to tweet. I think it brings us into contact with many people and mediums of discourse which we may not be as easily exposed to in other environments. Additionally, I’m able to express some astrological insights in rations of 140 characters or less.

However, as an Astrologer , it’s quite challenging and often times difficult to to offer any type of in depth analysis of birth charts, compatibility, etc… within the confines of this format.

A comprehensive birth chart analysis usually consists of a consultation format. These one on one sessions provide an opportunity to engage in a rich, meaningful dialogue with the client; to enter into an exchange and receive valuable feedback concerning how the individual experiences the contents of their birth chart.

After all, this is a person’s life we’re talking about here: relationship issues, spiritual crisis, vocational concerns and the like. I would say that areas which carry such a significance should be treated with the time, attention and care that they deserve. It’s rare that a series of tweets or direct messages can even scratch the surface in uncovering the layers of depth which encompass such areas of life development.

Even to discuss whether we’re compatible with other people takes an analysis of the birth charts of both individuals complete with a significant discussion. Actually, there probably wouldn’t be enough 140 character blocks to provide the information needed without getting carpal tunnel.

Unfortunately, we live in a world which promotes “quick fix” solutions. Lose weight quick, get money quick, fall in love, etc..  Astrology has somewhat found its way into this quicksand because it’s been, and continues to be marketed en masse as a one size fits all proposition.

There are various books and magazines on the market that tell us “he’s a Pisces and she’s a Scorpio: this is a match made in heaven, prepare for everlasting bliss.” Or, “He’s a Sagittarius and she’s a Virgo: run for the hills!!!!”  Although Sun signs play a part in the equation, this type of analysis is sorely incomplete and very misleading.

When it comes to ourselves and our relationships, it’s imperative that we examine the existent patterns in our behavior as well as the broad range of needs within us that require fulfillment. It’s very doubtful that 140 character blurbs on twitter will address what we require in all of our complexity as human beings.

If you’re truly interested in exploring the map of your psyche and inner dynamics, a consultation with a competent and caring Astrologer is most definitely a worthwhile investment.

Cancer Sun, Virgo Moon : The Helping Hand

(Excerpt from the upcoming “Book of Cancer”)

Healing and helping.

These are two words and concepts which are no stranger to your vocabulary.

Emotional connections ignite your life force, and you have the potential of being able to offer warmth and tenderness with precision; in the EXACT manner required for the moment.

You can not only be considered a useful person, but also a trusted confidant.

When you help make situations better, your work is evident by the reactions of others and how they rave about the many positive changes in their lives- all because of you.

What you seek is the “soft spot” in others in order to support them in the most efficient manner possible. To soothe the heart and feed the intellect.

However, one of the questions that this combination produces is: with all of this service to humanity, how do I navigate my own self-care?

Sun-Pluto Aspects : Potential For Healing Power

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When studying Astrology, one of the most important lessons to be digested is: when it comes to signs, planets and their placements, houses and aspects- there are two sides to every coin.

Attaching the labels of “good” and “bad” when discussing these entities will most likely hinder us from developing a broad understanding of their functions within the greater astrological whole.

When the Sun, which symbolizes the ingredients that comprise your life force and identity has a “sit down” with Pluto, who represents the transformer, catharsis, regeneration and all that reforms, a powerful impact is released into the universe. Influence that can be used for good, or for ill.

If you have a Sun-Pluto aspect within your birth chart, there is an astounding amount of personal power at your disposal. Whether or not you spend the time and effort on yourself which is necessary to access this power is another story. Anything which involves Pluto is deep. Plutonian energies operate below the surface and cannot readily be “seen” with the naked eye.

To truly benefit from these aspects, you will need to engage in a tremendous amount of self-reflection.

You ‘ll also have to scrutinize your own motivations when it comes to dealing with others. Listening ability can most certainly serve you as an ally. You will not succeed if your method for getting ahead consists of bulldozing others with your views or agendas.

Your potentially highly magnetic personality will work for you providing that you learn to trust others and reveal your motives.  In fact: Sun-Pluto people have the potential serve humanity as healers because of their experience in dealing with matters which are not openly discussed due to the sensitivity and the privacy of their nature. The uniting of these two planets, when capitalized on, makes it possible to live a life which is highly evolved.

An existence based on positive change, and the continuous reinvention of self. Shedding the skin of your identity on a periodic basis, removing all of the outworn parts in order to thrive as the TRUE youAuthenticity in all of its forms can be yours. The misuses of Sun-Pluto power are evident in the megalomania of Nino Brown and Tony Montana.

If you haven’t seen “New Jack City” or “Scarface”, watching these films can provide a picture which cannot be totally captured in words. The choice remains: to heal or to hurt. It’s truly up to us what side of the coin we choose.

Photo: caricorn.org

Fear & Control Factors: Saturn-Sun Contacts in Relationship Astrology

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(photo: capitalfm.co.ke)

Every now and then I find it necessary to write about what many of us would call the ugly manifestation of certain aspects in synastry.

However, while it’s a stark reality that many toxic dysfunctional relationships exist, that doesn’t mean that we still can’t find the gold nugget of meaning contained within. After all, it’s often through some of our most painful and tumultuous experiences that we tend to learn the most.

First, let’s consider the two entities involved in a relationship: the Sun and Saturn.

What does the Sun do?

Ideally, the Sun shines and provides light. At its best, it radiates and illuminates. At its worst, it blinds or distorts. When we’re living our sun signs in an optimal fashion, we feel full of vitality and vigor and free to express ourselves without inhibition.

And, Saturn?

When Saturn is “hitting on all cylinders” it indicates responsibility, maturity, competence and mastery. This article is largely about when the ringed planet ISN’T working that way.

While I don’t obsess over the exact nature of aspects, I think the opposition would be appropriate to look at in regard to Sun-Saturn contacts, but keep in mind that these dynamics could apply to other aspects besides the opposition as well.

When manifesting in a destructive or toxic fashion, Sun-Saturn in synastry can indicate a relationship where one partner is literally “opposed” to the identity of the other. There may be a verbal profession of love, but in actual practice there’s more of a climate of begrudging acceptance. At this time, the rock-solid grounding energy of the constructive Saturn has been replaced by less desirable qualities of rigidity, excessive control, and limitation.

(photo: justrec.com)

If you’re currently experiencing this type of dynamic in a relationship or have done so in the past, feelings of being in the twilight zone immediately come to mind: You’re sitting somewhere so damn confused because this is a person who professes to love you, yet they feel the need to exert pressure on every iota of your identity, as to manage your self-expression so it quells their discomfort.

Somehow, there’s the vibe of this partner attempting to convince you that they know WHO you ARE and what you need better than you know it yourself. You may catch flashbacks of attempts to “parent” you all over again.

The main ways I’ve seen these contacts work are directly related to FEAR in one of the partners. Remember, we’re talking about contacts to the Sun here. So, while your partner may, in some small corner of their heart, LOVE who you are, there’s also a growing anxiety surrounding that you may “do” your Sun so well that they will be left lonely and in the dust. They are acutely aware of the breadth and depth of experiences you may need to immerse yourself in to actualize your potential and the thought of that activates any insecurities they may have surrounding the situation. In this case, Saturn is the heavy weight sitting on the Sun; repressing, sabotaging, inhibiting and judging.

OUCH.

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(photo : attracttheone.com)

If you’re on the receiving end of this type of relationship, your partner may actually have the desire to be like you, but they feel restricted in some way, so that feeling is presented to you as a deep seated bitterness or resentment towards you because there are flashes of brilliance where your sunlight is concerned and it reminds them of their own unrealized potential.

So then, your partner may go to WORK (another Saturn word) on your psyche, pulling out a couple more of Saturn’s destructive tools of the trade: doubt and criticism.

The doubt part may manifest in attempts to get you to believe that who you are is not really quite good enough; that your inadequacies overwhelmingly outweigh your virtues. They may even use selective praise as a strategy, so that you interpret its absence as displeasure and feverishly work to maintain the flow of pats on the back.

The criticism part may surface under the guise of “meaning well” or “tough love”. Injurious words and actions camouflaged as attempts to “make you better”.

Although much of what has been written may be experienced as uncomfortable, please keep in mind that there’s a growth choice that you can make if faced with such a dynamic in a relationship. One of the avenues may involve completely removing yourself from the situation, but the fact remains that in order for your development to be real, you must look at yourself and come to terms with what you’re experiences are trying to tell you on an inner level.

When the Sun is constructive, it’s confident.   A person with healthy Sun is aware of their preferences and unapologetic about having them. In fact, it could be said that to truly live your Sun, you’re going to have to risk telling some people to go to hell who want to mold, shape or project on you.

If you share a Sun-Saturn contact with another individual, and any of the above resonates, ponder on Raymond Hull’s quote:

“He who trims himself to suit everyone, will soon whittle himself away.”

Perhaps one of the lessons of such experiences deals with coming to terms with your own level of self-acceptance. Recognizing everything you are and everything you’re NOT. After all, tests are a part of Saturn’s arsenal, and they’re far from the Jupiterian “open book” variety. Maybe one of the messages is that if we’re going to actually DO anything in this world and really give it a go at remembering our deepest selves, we have to be prepared for criticism from those that we rub the wrong way, and in no way is an intimate relationship exempt from such interplay.

As I explained from the outset, this article is mainly about Saturn making a wrong turn in its relationship with the Sun, but there are also constructive ways that this aspect can manifest in synastry which make a significant contribution to a stable, mature relationship where a clear sense of obligation between two people leads to a solid and long lasting union.

Uranus in the 9th House: The Futuristic Philosopher

(photo credit: evolllution.com )

Astrologically, the 9th house is where we form our worldview. It’s the terrain where we take our life experience and form a philosophy, or a belief system about how life works. With Uranus in the 9th house, the constructive potential of this placement is to form a cosmology which serves in the liberation of humanity.

One of your tasks is to teach and guide others in a way which radically shakes up their habitual thought patterns and cultural conditioning. You could quite possibly be considered eccentric or unorthodox because of the inclination to rebel against the “standard” or conventional way of doing things. In your mind, majority consensus often means that people haven’t looked at issues from every angle.

Even when you incorporate the traditional, it’s with a twist. You view your mission as being one which breathes new life into perspectives which are otherwise stale and outdated.  Often, there is a feeling of “majestic alienation” present. You sense as if you’re really on to something, but you look around and no one is with you.

Understand this: to effectively live this placement, you must relinquish an incessant need to have the larger society approve of your view of the universe.  While certain authority figures may be used as guides, the cosmos is asking you to synthesize your personal experiences, listen to your inner voice and gift the world with an eclectic array of your unique gray matter.

It’s important to trust your intuitive insights, as feedback from mainstream society is highly unlikely to provide you with sustenance or give you the results that you seek. Remain steadfast and stay on the path you’ve blazed for yourself. You will encounter like minds and kindred souls if you unabashedly own and wear your badge of strangedom.

 

Your Astrological Chart : The Whole is Greater

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“My Mercury is in Scorpio.” “I have a Cancer Moon.” Jupiter is in my first house!!”

Those of us who are familiar with Astrological language know that it’s always exciting as we begin to learn about our individual birth charts and all of their different dimensions including sign, house placements and aspects.

During this lifelong process of astrological exploration and study, something we must be ever vigilant of is identifying our tendency to isolate factors within our chartsWithout analyzing placements within the context of our entire cosmic structure, we leave ourselves at the mercy of incomplete and often times misleading information.Essentially, what we’re doing is looking at ourselves using  a fragmented approach.

“It is very important to recognize that the whole is not something additional to the parts: it is the parts in a definite structural arrangement and with mutual activities that constitute the whole.

The structure and the activities differ in character according to the stage of development of the whole; but the whole is just this specific structure of parts with their appropriate activities and functions.”

In a birth chart, everything always affects everything else. The organization of all of the parts determines the functioning of the whole.

Reference: “Holism and Evolution” by Jan Smuts pg. 104