Looking Back on the Recent Planetary Aspects

In the past few weeks, we’ve had a Mercury in Cancer Retrograde and a Grand Trine in Water signs.  Saturn is still in Scorpio and Neptune is still in Pisces.  I don’t know about you, but I think all that emotionally-charged  Water stuff can feel pretty overwhelming sometimes.  Even if you yourself aren’t emotional, having to work or live with others who are can be a challenge.

I’m finding that the Neptune in Pisces aspect is hardest for me.  Neptune is the ruler of Pisces, so therefore they have similar meanings: spirituality, emotions, enlightenment, mysticism, compassion.  Those things sound good, but Neptune and Pisces also represent delusion, addiction, escapism, and ever-expanding boundaries.

It’s that capacity for illusion that frustrates me so much.  My Virgo Rising/Grand Trine in Earth self can’t abide such ungroundedness.  Trying to communicate or interact with someone who isn’t clear on everyone else’s reality gives me a headache.  (Let me clarify:   I’m all for allowing every bit of wildness and creativity and free-spiritedness to roam unfettered. . . . inside your own head.  When you are at work or in a group, you gotta be able to dial it back when you have to, and you gotta be able to hear input from others, even if you might not agree.  That’s all I’m saying.)

Now, during a Mercury Retrograde, we are meant to review and reflect.  We get four weeks to mull things over and contemplate how to go forward in a better way.

So what have I learned from my own month of ruminating?  Boundaries are a good thing.


I’ve noticed that inspiration and growth often occurs when you least expect it.  For me, when a dilemma or “stuckness” presents itself, I tend to approach it by working my buns off, wrestling with it, studying, thinking, wrestling some more.  Then, when I’ve taken a breather and I’m just sitting still and spacing out, the solution just pops into my head.  It’s as if all the information I’ve gathered has spun around in the ole cranial Vitamixer, and then when I press the Off Button, voila!  I’ve got something yummy and useable.

In the bigger picture, winter represents this downtime, I think.  We all need a little space to rest, recoup, process.  I found this quote by Brenda Ueland which seems to illustrates my point:

“Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic energy striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time.”

To everything there is a season, right?  Learning to enjoy all the seasons here. . . .




Willingness to UNlearn

The other day, I read a quote from Gandhi in which he advises that “it is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom.”  Holy cow! I thought, with no disrespect intended.  Of course!  Many people are willing to learn, but how many of us are willing to UNlearn what we think we already know??

The path of learning sometimes comes with hard lessons that remind us that we don’t, in fact, know it all.  I think many of us like to read about and explore and search for new wisdoms.  But if we take the view that there is a Body of Knowledge out there to learn, and we just have to learn it all and then we are done, then we are really being rather myopic.

If it is true that the only constant is change, then we can’t let ourselves think that we are ever done learning.  Even if we’ve learned some really Big Lessons and come a long way and had some Life-Altering Revelations, we can’t rest on our laurels.  There will always be more to learn.  Plus, what happens when you come up against a new situation in your life, one that doesn’t match anything you’ve ever had before?  Sometimes, applying your old knowledge doesn’t work for the new situation.

No one likes to be humbled or to admit flaws.  It’s one of the hardest things in the world to look in the mirror and say, “You screwed up, pal.  You’ve got some soul-searching to do.”  Most times, when we run up against stuff we don’t want to hear, we deny it and fight it.

But what would happen if we were always willing to learn AND unlearn?  Let’s say someone challenged your beliefs or stated an opinion opposite to yours.  Or, harder still, pointed out a personal item that you might want to work on.  Generally, when someone pushes a button like that, most of us react angrily or feel wounded in some way.  What if, instead, we chose to see that emotional response as a Messenger?  We could say, Hmmm, there’s that Messenger again.  Perhaps he’s telling me that I have an opportunity to learn, unlearn, and grow here if I put ego aside and examine the issue honestly and objectively.

Hard work?  Definitely.  Worth it?  Always.


Mercury Retrograde

Mercury, Messenger of the Gods

Mercury, Messenger of the Gods


Mercury is retrograde this month from the 6th to the 26th.  Here are some quick facts about a Mercury Retrograde:

  • The planet Mercury is named after the mythical god Mercury.  He is usually depicted with a winged hat and shoes, symbolizing his status as messenger of the gods.  In astrology, then, Mercury in a natal chart indicates one’s communication style and perceptions of the world.
  • Mercury goes retrograde four times per year.  Retrograde motion appears backwards to us from our position on Earth.  A planet does not actually travel backwards in its orbit; it simply appears that way to us from our vantage point.  (Think of it this way–if you zoom past a slower car on the road, it can seem as if the slower car is going backwards in comparison to you.)
  • Retrograde Mercury symbolizes delayed or difficult communication, interrupted travel, and opportunities for reflection.
  • For people born during a Mercury Retrograde, astrologers offer several possible interpretations, including communication issues (such as stuttering or shyness).  On a spiritual level, though, a person born during a Mercury Retrograde is often said to be working through old karmic issues of other lifetimes.
  • In general, a Mercury Retrograde is a time for internal reflection and review.  Some astrologers would warn against signing contracts or making travel plans; in my opinion, however, it is simply a time to do our due diligence and make decisions thoughtfully, not hastily.


Mercury Retrograde

I’m No Physicist, But I Know This. . .

As someone who greatly values learning, I have learned one lesson very well, and that is that there is a LOT to learn out there.  Luckily, I really like learning and reading and studying, and I love finding all the connections between philosophies.  For me, it’s kind of reassuring to see the common themes threaded throughout the various schools of thought.  Lets you know you’re on the right track, you know?

One of those commonalities is this: the only constant is change.  Now, most people I  know–me included–do not like change.  Change means going into the unknown, feeling unprepared and unarmed.  But I have found that if you at least try to embrace change, you can use it to your advantage.

With sincerest apologies to Sir Isaac Newton, I refer to the concept of “movement begets movement.”  Oftentimes, when things get overwhelming in our lives, we feel stuck and heavy.  I believe that these times of stuckness are signals that change is needed.  I picture it like this:  we’ve been doing our same old same old, and the Universe sends us messages that get increasing bigger and bigger.  Maybe the first few messages are small–you get a traffic ticket, you turn in a work project late, you quarrel with your BFF.  Then, if you continue your same old same old, the messages get bigger and bigger–your car dies, you get fired, you get dumped.

So now, the Universe is shaking you by the shoulders, saying, “Hey pal, you listening??  Ball’s in your court.  Whatcha gonna do?”

This is the critical point.

When I find myself there, I know that the cosmic Laurence Fishburn is offering me the blue pill or the red pill (apologies now to the Wachowski siblings).  What AM I going to do?

Here’s where I remember that change is the only constant and that movement begets movement.  OK, so things are piling up in my life and I know that change is going to happen whether I like it or not.  Therefore, why not go with it and head into the unknown on my own terms?  I know that ANY change that I make from my same old same old will result in transformation.

I think the changes can be small–take a different route to work, read a book instead of watch TV, take the green travel mug instead of the blue one, anything that represents a break from your old routine.  Since movement begets movement, just doing SOMETHING new will create a domino effect and start a new path.

Now, maybe that new path isn’t going to the best one either.  But at least YOU have taken control of the overwhelmingness and embraced change.  You’ve recognized the need to transform, and you are willing to do it.

How do you tackle the overwhelming times in your life?  What has worked for you?  Share your ideas here!