Mercury Retrograde in Leo July 26


Like the Hanged Man who is suspended between twin trees and seemingly within the grasp of Fate, Mercury is retrograde now in Leo, where he has a flair for the dramatic. Mercury is also the agent of transformation. Over the next three weeks, you may need to ask yourself: What needs to be transformed?

I believe in the perfect timing is demonstrated day in and day out, century after century. There is none of the chaos we see here on our planet Earth. The planets move with a precision that neither we nor any of the technology we have available can understand. Yet, in every moment there is change that is distinct from what was or ever will be again.

What do these planetary relationships show us?

Many who have studied the movements of Earth and the planets believe what was written by Hermes Trismegitus in The Emerald Tablet:

“That which is below corresponds to that which is above, and that which is above corresponds to that which is below to accomplish the miracle of the one thing.”

If you look carefully at this ages-old quote, you’ll see that it implies we are co-creators in our lives, and by extension, we are co-creators of the world we live in. I believe what this means is that while our lives are fated—we’re born into a family and community, with a body that is predisposed to a spectrum of health or illness, intelligence, and talents. And within the set of circumstances we’re born with and into, we have free will to make choices that will move us forward or hinder our growth. I also believe things happen at the right time and if we’re not ready (or willing) to respond to the urge or opportunity, there will be other opportunities. These things happen so we can grow into our own unique potential.

I suggest that a good way to use Mercury retrograde periods is to pay attention to what you’re thinking, feeling, seeing within yourself and in your environment— with emphasis on “reflective thinking.” If you’re being whacked along side the head by some awareness or memory or opportunity, trust that the universe is trying to get your attention.To Do: Find an image that reflects something about you at this time. What are you thinking about? Feeling? Missing? Wanting?

Reflection: How are you feeling suspended?

Mars and Mercury: the Passionate Mind

alexander the great

“Just as the Greek intellectual achievement had reached its climax during the fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great swept down from Macedonia through Greece and onward to Persia, conquering lands and people from Egypt to India…The very qualities that had served Greece’s brilliant evolution—restless individualism, proud humanism, critical rationalism—now helped precipitate its downfall, for the divisiveness, arrogance, and opportunism that shadowed the Greeks’ nobler qualities left them myopic and fatally unprepared for the Macedonian challenge.”

Excerpted from The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnes

Alexander’s army of warriors is representative of the Mars archetype. and our human urges to be assertive, self-protective, self-gratifying, and competitive. Mars is also associated with feelings of anger and aggression.

The Greek intellectual achievement that served individualism, humanism, and critical rationalism is representative of the Mercury archetype, and our human impulses to communicate, observe, teach, and learn. Mercury is associated with our thinking processes, which can tend toward overly rational or to come from a one-sided perspective, as well as dogmatism, literalism, and fundamentalism.

As we know oh so well: history does tend to repeat itself. We’re seeing the Mercury-Mars clashes play out in various ways all around the world. And the reasons behind the behavior haven’t changed since ancient times.

Mercury in Leo (emphasizing need to be appreciated by others) and Mars in Aquarius (emphasizing need to innovate and create social change) are opposing each other in the sky. At the same time these two planets are locked in a square with Uranus, the planet that represents our impulses toward freedom, rebellion, breakthroughs, innovation, and individuation, in Taurus (emphasizing need to be resourceful and get productive results). A square is symbolic of resistance. You know what happens when electric current is restricted by a knot or sharp bend (square) in a cord. The cord gets hot and often sparks fly. That same energy is active in our environment.

So, now what can we do? Can we change and do somethings different?

The movements of the planets, as they approach and separate from their different relationships with each other, provide some clues. What we observe is that the planets move gradually toward and away from each other. When they are in very close relationship by opposition (180 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees) or square (90 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees), they bring our focus and attention to something, like a focusing lens does. Our attention to things we see, hear, and feel increases and then diminishes in the same way. Nothing is as abrupt as it may seem to be. Planetary relationships change gradually, as does our thinking, which always precedes our actions.

Let’s think about this just briefly. We all think differently from one another. We’re individuals. which Mars in Aquarius is reminding us of. We each have our own thoughts and beliefs (beliefs are just thoughts we keep on thinking), which Mercury in Leo is reminding us of. Each one of us wants to be recognized and appreciated (Leo), and when we think that’s not happening, we can, in turn, feel anger, which activates the need to protect ourselves and our beliefs.

Real learning only ever happens through experience and reflecting on our own experiences. We actually teach ourselves. So, think about these few things:

  • You have the ability to direct your own thoughts. You have the option of observing things as they are or changing them as you want them to be. Your thoughts are vibrations, too. Like-minded people are attracted to each other. Do we need to repeat the battles that have gone on since before Alexander the Greats’ time?
  • Your attention to something invites it into your awareness. Every thought you give your attention to expands as more and more thoughts follow the original thought. Whether it’s a thought of something you want or don’t want, your attention to it invites more of what you think about into your experience.

Somethings, like the planets moving through the heavens, are fated. However, even as they come together and your attention is focused (through your individual lens) on what you do or don’t want, you have the freewill to make choices and change what comes next.

What has your experience taught you? What do you want to change, do differently? This is a good time, while the resistance is bringing things into focus, for personal reflection before taking any next actions.



Life, Fate, and Freewill

fate vs determinism

One of the great, centuries-old debates, which continues among astrologers today, is around the concepts of fate and freewill. Some astrologers believe in a deterministic fate and uphold the notion that we can do nothing to change our fates. Those astrologers believe planets cause events and when there is clear understanding of the planets, based on planetary locations in the zodiac and their relationships to one another, one’s fate can be predicted.

On the other end of the spectrum are astrologers who believe life is partially predetermined and that fate can be mitigated. I’m aligned with this perspective of life here on planet earth.

I’m not satisfied that there is ONE definitive explanation for the role of planets and their interactions and everyone else has it wrong. There was a spectrum of beliefs millennia ago as there is today, and so the discussion continues.

I do believe certain things in life are fated. But we have the ability to make choices and because we can make choices our potentially fated lives can have outcomes that are different from the “predictable” outcome. I’ve watched the 2006 movie Deja Vu several times, and I think it’s the question of whether or not fate can be changed, and if so, how it can be changed, that intrigues me.

A lot of things are predictable, which is a primary reason astrology just works. I’ve observed what I sometimes refer to as apparent “influences” on people and events due to a planet’s location and relationships to other planets in a horoscope chart. But I can’t predict with 100 percent accuracy  how someone will respond to any given influence. An example that validates for me the less deterministic perspective is that of babies who are born within seconds of each other and who then essentially share the same fate if we look only to the stars and planets for an explanation of their individual life outcomes. The Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew, are a lot alike, but they’re also different, as is true of most twins. Twins can have very different life experiences and it’s unlikely their lives will end in the same way or at the same time.

Interestingly, it was after watching the 2016 movie Arrival that my thoughts coalesced about whether the planets and their movements through the heavens are predictive (of fate) or symbolic in nature. In the movie, alien creatures use what look like symbols in their effort to communicate with linguistics professor Louise Banks about the reason 12 spaceships have landed in various locations on earth. The space aliens would project a black cloud-like substance from their “hands” and the substance would converge into different circular shapes. It occurred to me that we arrange and rearrange letters from our 26-letter alphabet in different ways to form words that have meaning. It was only after Banks was able to understand the symbols by learning various associations that she could interpret the message they’d come here to share with humans.

Movies are themselves a visual collection of symbols (images) that represent ideas,  archetypes, concepts, etc., that are combined, moved around, and recombined to create and convey messages.

In the same way that letters in an alphabet are combined and recombined to represent words that represent the variety here on earth, the sun and orbiting planets (as viewed by us based on their position in our zodiac) apply to and separate from a variety of relationships with each other (by conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition) to represent the variety of events in our world. Astrologers are like linguists who provide on-the-spot services to communicate by translating a symbolic language that is not common to both speakers. We’re the interpreters of the symbols that combine in a variety of ways to create greater meaning.

Finally, while I’m more comfortable with the notion that planets do not cause events, I know that they represent events. And understanding what the the planets and their movements represent, or symbolize, can help us understand and make use, through choices, of the meaning, knowledge, and wisdom contained  in the messages.