Daily Sun and Moon Sign/Phase: April 26 2017

Ask the wild bee what the Druids knew…

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Taurus by Remedios Varo, Spanish painter (1908*1963)

Taurus by Remedios Varo, Spanish painter (1908*1963) Click to view larger image

The SUN will transit TAURUS from April 20, 7.26 am, to May 21, 6.30 am, entering then the Sign of GEMINI  (Australia Eastern Standard Time = 10 hours East of Greenwich).

Taurus Moon

Taurus Moon

New to Crescent Moon Phase

New to Crescent Moon Phase

The WANING/WAXING MOON is transiting TAURUS, from April 26, 11.56 am, to April 28, 11.38 am, with the ingress into GEMINI.

The TAURUS NEW MOON PHASE begins on April 26, 10.16 pm, and ends on April 30, 2.56 am, with the GEMINI CRESCENT MOON PHASE.

MARS entered GEMINI on April 21, at 8.31 pm. The Red Planet will transits Gemini until June 5, to then enter Cancer. Also today Retro Mercury re-enters Aries in backward motion.

PLUTO turned Stationary Retrograde on April 20, on the 19th degree of Capricorn.

MERCURY became Stationary Retrograde, on the 4th degree of Taurus, on April 10. On April 20 Mercury will align with the Sun (Inferior Conjunction), beginning his Morning Star apparition (’til next Superior Conjunction on June 22 2017). Our Little Brother will turn Stationary Direct on May 4, on the 24th degree of Aries. Mercury will re-enter Taurus for good only on May 16.

VENUS became Stationary Retrograde on March 4, on the 13th degree of Aries. Our Sister Planet then re-entered Pisces on April 3. Venus turned Stationary Direct on April 15, on the 26th of Pisces, and will re-enter Aries for good only on April 29 2017.

With JUPITER Retro in Libra (February 6 to June 10), SATURN Retro in Sagittarius (April 6 to August 25) , PLUTO going to be Retro on April 20 (to September 29) the total of Retrograde Planets is 4: times for many endings, reflecting on the past and making preparation for the start of new imminent new cycles.

HERE are the dates and times of the Moon, Sun  and Planets’ ingress into Signs for the month of APRIL 2017, plus all planetary Retro and Direct periods.
HERE are the dates and times of the MOON’s PHASES for the month of APRIL 2017.
Please click this link to view/print a LIST OF ALL TRANSITS ACTIVE IN APRIL 2017.

rooster-new-year NEW YEAR of the ROOSTER.

May this be a year of action, efficiency, courage and RESISTANCE against the dark forces that are trying to overwhelm our beautiful world.

Click here for a new post (published on October 13) on the transit of Jupiter in Libra (September 9 2016 to October 10 2017).

MAYA bright goldClick HERE to view my CONSULTATIONS Page

Dear reader, please notice that, at the moment, I am busy streamlining the navigation on my site, in the hope of making it easier for you to find the articles you may be interested in. I realized recently that the site is difficult to navigate because of the way it has been structured, in a blog form, with recent articles on top and old ones lost in the great beyond. While searching myself for a post I had written few years back I was unable to find it! I am now collecting all the posts on similar subjects under the same heading on the menu bar. There is in fact lots more to this site that it is apparent at first.

This is still a work in process and will take some time. Thank you for your support throughout the years, Paola Emma4

Venus on the eventful cusp Pisces/Aries, the end and the beginning, the old and the new

'Mastering the art of waiting'

‘Mastering the art of waiting’

Note: a shorter version of this post was published in issue 93 of the Uki Village News, April/May 2017

Venus on the eventful cusp Pisces/Aries, the end and the beginning, the old and the new

Venus is spending a long time in Aries this year, from February 4 to June 6 (excluding most of April, when she re-entered Pisces in retro motion); three whole months, triple the time she usually spends in one Sign.

The long stay of Venus in the fieriest of the Fire Signs can be either exciting or troublesome, depending how we handle it and our personal circumstances. It can be a real struggle for Venus to play the role of the Love/Harmony Planet in the combative, competitive Sign of Mars. We risk losing sight of the softer, loving side of Venus. The inner journey of retrogradation (March 3 to April 16) and the brief return into Pisces (April 2 to 29) should have created greater awareness of this risk.

Let’s consider the timeline/ highlights of this transit and others, from February to early June:

  • In February Venus was in Aries with Mars, ideal time to initiate new things, to be bolder and more independent in all areas, particularly in personal relationships. The prominence of this Fire Sign provided us with the vision and courage to pursue new goals with energy and embrace changes with confidence. Wanting our own way we might have ignored or disregarded other people feelings, in an attitude of confrontation rather than cooperation. We may have succeeded to eliminate stuff/people/circumstances from our lives that seemed to impede our progress, but our feeling of success may have proven premature.
  • Within the first ten days of March Venus turned retrograde (March 3 to April 15), while Mars entered Taurus (March 10 to April 21), this Earth Sign tending to slow down rather than stir up Mars’ fiery energy. These events ushered a period when our recent initiatives/actions and assertive/self-centred Aries moods have been put to the test. The retrogradation suggests in fact a time for returning over issues we have already explored in the recent past, a frustrating thing if you remain determined to push ahead with earlier plans and decisions, without making any changes.
  • On March 25 Venus aligned with the Sun thus turning from Evening to Morning Star for the rest of the year, the bolder and more forceful aspect of Venus; this aspect becoming more active however only at the end of April.
  • Between April 2 and 29 Venus return to Pisces, compounding the softening effect of retrogradation with the passive tendencies of Pisces. This suggests the need for a more pliable, compassionate and sensitive approach, even in the midst of changes and even while trying to be more honest and assertive in the way we relate to others. A challenging transit Venus-Saturn, also active throughout April, will accentuate the need for a more practical outlook on our relationships, general values and the way we go about satisfying our desires. This is a sobering, limiting transit.
  • To add more spice to this complex picture Mercury became Stationary Retrograde, on the 4th degree of Taurus, on April 10. Our Little Brother re-enters Aries on April 21 (same day Mars enters Gemini), and will turn Stationary Direct on May 4, on the 24th of Aries. Mercury will re-enter Taurus for good only on May 16.
    So we will not be out of the wood with the slowing and often confusing, if not downright bewildering effect of retrogradation, particularly tangible when the Inner Planets move backward (Mercury and Venus). The retrogradation of Mercury’s effects can range from missed appointments, delayed phone calls or travel arrangements, wrongly deleted emails etc., to more serious misunderstandings in the areas of communication and learning, but hopefully also with a more penetrating insight into the same matters.
  • The landscape will change again in late April and throughout May. On April 21 Mars enters Gemini, a mentally/physically active Sign, while, by April 29 (until June 6) Venus will be again in Aries and moving in direct motion. This change will return to us the level of energy and drive we experienced earlier this year and hopefully the wisdom a Retro Venus can bring in the areas of experience indicated by her relative position in our Birth Charts. On May 20 an opposition Venus-Jupiter could bring opportunities for romance, travel, special celebrations, enthusiasm and creativity. A challenging angle Venus-Pluto, on May 26, could be intense, even dramatic. A conjunction Venus-Uranus in Aries, on June 3, just before Venus’ change of Sign, could prove very exciting, but also highly unpredictable: a joy ride of emotions which may involve taking unusual risk A Mars opposition Saturn, active around the same time, could make it harder to obtain our heart desires as speedily as we wish.

All the best with all these Transits; cheers

Sharing Donna Cunningham’s wisdom on the subject of Mercury Retrograde

Mercury - in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow

Bust of Hermes – Mercury – in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow

***

I couldn’t agree more with top astrologer Donna Cunningham about the myths surrounding the Mercury retrograde periods that visit us two or three times a year.

Such a period is approaching at the end of August, lasting until the middle of September 2016.

Because of retrogradation Mercury will transits Virgo from the end of July all the way to October 7.

Worth sharing here her down to Earth take on this subject; perhaps not enough cosmic for some…

Donna Cunningham’s Mercury Retrograde post on Sky Writer

October 12, 2015: Latest Astrological News

Maya Animation 10 pictures c♦ On October 9 check out the alignment of the waning Moon to Venus in the early morning easterly sky, both these feminine celestial bodies entering Virgo on the same day. This will not be just any round of the mill conjunction but an occultation, meaning that the Moon will appear to swallow bright Venus. Hopefully the clouds will clear in our region before this special event! Visit the October Star over Wollumbin page for more details.

♦ Transiting Venus is joining Jupiter and Mars in Virgo on October 9, at 4.29 am (Eastern Australia Summer Time). There is a hope that the gentler touch of Venus may curb some of the hard edges of current Mars’ Transits. Mars has in fact made the international situation even more challenging, introducing risk elements that weren’t present before, manifesting in more man-made and natural disasters. If interested please visit may post on the transits of Mars in Virgo HERE. We should not forget however that Venus is in her Morning Phase, more inclined toward confrontations than to embrace peace and dialogue. For the effect of Venus Morning please navigate to my recent post ‘ Welcome Venus Morning Star’, HERE.

I repeat here the dates of Mars and Venus’ major transits while in Virgo:

September 26 = Mars square Saturn

October 7 = Mars in opposition Neptune (Putin’s birthday)

October 16 =Mars trine Pluto

October 18 =Mars conjunct Jupiter

October 23 =Mars in opposition to Chiron

November 13 =Mars conjunct Lunar North Node

Venus follows suit with the same transits on different dates:

October 11 = Venus square Saturn

October 17 = Venus in opposition to Neptune

October 23 = Venus trine Pluto

October 26 = Venus conjunct Jupiter

October 28 = Venus in opposition to Chiron

November 3 = Venus conjunct Mars

 

♦ A ‘Super-Moon’ Total Lunar Eclipse in the Sign of Aries took place on September 28, at 12.50  pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time), but unfortunately it wasn’t visible from anywhere in Australia or Eastern Asia, not even as a partial view.

The United States, Canada and South America had the  front rows for this event, roughly from moon-rise (at sunset) to midnight. Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia viewed the eclipse in the early hours of the morning instead, before sunrise.

This is a special eclipse because the Moon is at Perigee (closest to Earth for the whole year) and the event is the fourth and last of a series of Lunar Total Eclipses, called a Tetrad, that occurred in autumn and spring between 2014 and 2015. Here are the Signs occupied by the totally eclipsed Moons, with their dates:

♥ April 15 2014, Libra Moon

♥ October 8 2014, Aries Moon

♥ April 4 2015, Libra Moon

♥ September 28 2015, Aries Moon

Stay tuned for my thoughts on this latest Eclipse, whose effects could last well into the next eclipse season, in March-April 2016, and beyond.

Mars in Virgo. Mars entered Earthy Virgo on September 25, and will be transiting Virgo until November 13 when he will move into Airy Libra.
People with Virgo highlighted in their Birth Chart will be feeling more restless and impatient, ready for action but also prone to make mistakes if they rush into things without planning.  Much could be accomplished during this period, with the potential to finally tackle jobs or projects that have been left in the drawer for a while. By all means take advantage of this transit’s abundant energy, but try not to overdue it or your health and peace of mind may be adversely affected. Your keen critical sense may become even sharper, so take care not to become more disparaging and nit-picking that you normally are. Pluck your courage to assert yourself and you could see quick return for your efforts.

Libra Equinox 2015Libra Equinox 2015. Libra Equinox on September 23, 5.20 pm. Here is the Chart for the ingress.

← click to view larger image

♦ On September 17 Mercury began its Retrograde period that will last until October 9 2015, from the middle back to the beginning of Libra. Mercury, now an Evening Star, will conjunct the Sun on October 1 (Inferior Conjunction), and afterword return to the morning sky. Click here for my post on the September-October Retrogradation of Mercury. And here for a recent post on the meaning of Retrogradation, focusing mainly on Mercury.

♦ The September New Moon was also a Partial Solar Eclipse on the 20th degree of Virgo. The Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Total Lunar Eclipse at the next Aries Full Moon (04° 40′), on September 28 2015. If interested please read my recent post on this Virgo Solar Eclipse here. And two tutorials on Eclipses that I’ve also re-posted recently: Eclipses as Doors of Perception – part 1 and Eclipses as Doors of Perception – part 2.

♦ The Sun entered Libra on September 23, 6.20 pm. This is the Spring Equinox in our southern parts and Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

♦ Jupiter entered the Earth Sign of Virgo on August 11 at 9.11 pm local time. Jupiter will transit Virgo until September 9 2016, when he will enter Libra.

Jupiter also reached the opposition to Neptune in Pisces on September 17.

Saturn turned Stationary Direct on August 2, on the 28th degree of Scorpio. Saturn has re-entered Sagittarius, in direct motion, on September 18 2015.

Venus turned Stationary Retrograde on July 24, on the first degree of Virgo. Venus re-entered Leo, in retro motion, on August 1 and was retrograde until September 7, re-entering Virgo, in direct motion, only on October 9, a very lengthy Venus in Leo Transit.

In the pipeline is a post on Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo, their coming and going square aspect punctuating the next nine months, with the risk of a global economic downturn very present, recession continuing in some countries and even food shortages worsening in less developed countries. A lesson in humility and make do, living within our means in the developed countries so to restore some balance to our lop-sided world. Stay tuned.

What a difference an eclipse makes….the change in Australian leadership and a peek at future cosmic trends, in particular the Jupiter-Saturn’s mutual relationship

Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull

Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull

The recent change in our political leadership didn’t come as a great surprise, but its timing did. Astrology can explain that better than many political analysts or the gossip columns, I think.

This eventful month of September coincides with the last eclipse season for 2015. The ballot to decide the fate of our former PM, held on September 14, 9.15 pm, happened just a day from the Virgo Solar Eclipse on September 13, 4.41 pm (Eastern Standard Time).

An Eclipse of the Sun is, first of all, a New Moon, a time for new beginnings. When this is also an eclipse, the new beginning often represents a major shift, with long lasting repercussions.

Tony Abbott’s was born in London on November 4 1957, 4 am. Here is a link to a post about Abbott when opposition leader and his Sunrise Horoscope, before his time of birth, 4 am, was confirmed. See below for his proper Natal Chart. The degree of the solar eclipse fell in the astrological sector of his Natal Horoscope described as the House of self-undoing, manifesting as the sort of events that are out of the individual’s control (12th House). The next Total Moon Eclipse, on September 28, will align nearly perfectly instead with his Aries Moon. The areas where Sun and Moon are located during this eclipse show Abbott’s present need for sacrifice, humility and discrimination (6th and 12th Houses). I also believe he will probably fight on, in some ways, the Lunar Eclipse spurring into action the fiery spirit of his Aries Moon.

Here are three Transits Charts imposed upon Tony Abbott’s Natal Chart, at the time of the two Eclipses and the ballot.

Tony Abbott and Solar Eclipsse September 13 2015

Tony Abbot and the Solar Eclipse of September 13 2015. Click to view larger image

Tony Abbott and Lunar Eclipse September 28 2015

Tony Abbott and Lunar Eclipse September 28 2015. Click to view larger image

Tony Abbott Transits at ballot September 14 2015. Note the Moon in Libra opposing his Natal Moon in Aries...

Tony Abbott Transits at ballot September 14 2015. Note the Moon in Libra opposing his Natal Moon in Aries…Click to view larger image

Eclipses tend to have a long lasting effect on individuals and the collective, these last ones spreading their vibes all the way to the next eclipse season in March 2016 and beyond.

A lucky star is shining on Malcolm Turnbull at present (born Sydney, Oct-24-1954, time undisclosed. See his Sunrise Chart below). He was chosen to become our new PM just as the transiting Saturn became aligned to his Birth Venus on the cusp Scorpio-Sagittarius. This conjunction can occur only once in 29 and half years. The odds of that happening as he became PM would be very high indeed! To all students of Astrology this clearly shows how positive a Saturn’s transit can be, despite this planet’s reputation for hard work and little pay/joy. Saturn also helps to consolidate and make factual, in this case Turnbull’s long held wish to become PM (Venus on a cusp of power).

Here is the Transits Chart of the time of the ballot imposed upon Turnbull’s Sunrise Chart (time of birth undisclosed).

Malcolm Turnbull Transits at ballot September 14 2015

Malcolm Turnbull Transits at ballot September 14 2015. Click to view larger image

A positive sign for this change of leadership is the fact that it happened when Mercury was still transiting in direct motion, while the day his cabinet was revealed, September 20, Mercury had turned retrograde. It sounds good for the PM, perhaps not so good for his cabinet.

A topic of concern is the Jupiter opposition to Neptune that occurred on September 17, very close to the date of the ballot, an aspect that could inflate collective expectations of what is to come. This aspect could erode people’s trust in this new leadership if matters of importance aren’t disclosed and discussed openly. There is also a risk that someone may decide to undermine the new cabinet’s credibility from within.

The Jupiter-Saturn cycle and global economic downturns

Many internet ‘prophets’, happy to spook as many people as possible, are reporting that the Lunar Eclipse on September 28 is a ‘Blood Moon’, portending all sorts of catastrophes and even the end of the world! In fact ‘Blood Moons’ are not that rare, the Moon taking on that red-coppery hue because it is at its closest to planet Earth as our planet’s shadow falls on its disk during the eclipse. On all account it has been a bloodily ghastly Moon for many of our prominent politicians.

To compound the effects of these eclipses a lasting planetary shift occurred between August and September 2015: Jupiter moved into earthy Virgo on August 11 and Saturn into fiery Sagittarius on September 18.

Jupiter will remain in Virgo for one year (to September 9 2016), while Saturn will transit Sagittarius until the end of 2017, with few interruptions. Jupiter and Saturn are the giant of our solar system, their mutual dance in the sky has been considered of the greatest significance for world affairs since antiquity. They were known as the ‘Chronocrators’ or ‘Time Markers’ in classical Greece. Now they are both transiting Mutable Signs, symbol of the ending of something, learning from past experiences and preparation for a big change ahead, namely Saturn entering his own Sign of Capricorn in 2017.

2015 and ‘16 are important years for the Jupiter-Saturn mutual relationship: they have reached a distance of 90 degrees from each other. This coming and going aspect will punctuate the next nine months, with the risk of a general economic downturn very present; recession continuing in some countries and food shortages worsening in less developed ones. This should be a lesson in humility and ‘make do’, getting used to live within our means in the developed countries, to restore some balance to our lop-sided world.

A real global recession may be less likely because it is more often associated with the opposition between Jupiter and Saturn rather than their right angle (historical examples of opposition periods and global downturns: 1890-1931-1951/52-1969/70-1989/90-2010).

The planet of abundance and opportunities is now in the Sign of hard work, humility, even poverty; while Saturn, the cosmic energy that limits and grounds everything, is now in Sagittarius, the Sign of freedom, philosophy, hope, aspirations. We could seek more concrete ways to tackle our global problems. Jupiter in an Earth Sign and Saturn ‘earthing’ a Fire Sign promise a big reality check for the world.

Jupiter and Saturn are also in turn aligned to Neptune in Pisces making their interaction more complex by introducing a spiritual element, the theme of the global environment, the dream of a united, at peace humanity, the gift of compassion and inclusion (Germany opened its door to thousands of refugees in September, around the time Jupiter opposed Neptune, September 17). Pisces is the Sign of the great Ocean Mother to which everything and everyone return in the end. The issue of rising sea levels could also be big in the news during the active period of these planetary configurations.

The Jupiter opposition Neptune effect is now passing, but the square Saturn-Neptune has still to become active, in November 2015 and again in June and September 2016. This transit describes a powerful tension between our best humanitarian aspirations and the realistic limits of implementing them.

The downside of the Neptune connection could be that, whatever useful reality check we are experiencing, we could still feel unclear about our global goals and the road to peace, Neptune in Pisces possibly fogging these issues or making our collective efforts less effective.

On the bright side, contrary to what many astrologers predict (for instance an increase in religious fanaticism and division brought about by Saturn in the often self-righteous Sign of religion) I feel and hope that the open minded, cosmopolitan, multi-cultural outlook of Sagittarius could help seeing the issues in a less personalized, biased or BW way, as it happened when Saturn was transiting Scorpio (2013/15), a highly polarizing and judgmental Sign.

Let’s not forget also that the dangerous right angle between destructive Uranus and Pluto is now at an end, the last pass exact in March 2015. This to me seems to indicate that things may actually somehow improve. A more radical shift, with an end of the present severe crisis, will not occur however until 2020, when Saturn in Capricorn will catch up with Pluto, ending their mutual cycle that culminated in 2001 with their opposition (9/11).

More posts in the oven about the transits of Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius. Stay tuned.

The Astrology of Mercury retrograde, September-October 2015

Sagrada Familia Staircase Barcelona

Sagrada Familia Staircase Barcelona

In view of the present retrogradation of Mercury in Libra (September 17 to October 9 2015) I’m re-posting here an edited version of a post I published in 2011, on the general subject of retrogradation. stressing in particular the significance of Mercury when retrograde.

Click here for my recent post on the September 2015 Mercury retrograde period.

The retrogradation of Mercury is a mystery and you are the only one who can unravel it!

In fact each Birth Chart will experience this phase in its own peculiar way. There is no given formula for the way Mercury Retrograde is going to impact on your life.

Lately I have reflected upon and researched a lot the phenomenon of retrogradation, this optical illusion that, at regular interval, makes the planets appear to stop in their tracks, and then move for a while in the opposite direction of the one they normally travel on.

In real terms the planets of course never moves backward. From a sun centered (heliocentric) viewpoint they all travel at their appointed speed, always in the same direction, identical to planet Earth’s.

The phenomenon appears instead very ‘real’ from our Earth’s plane. With long exposure photography we are now able to actually see the shiny loop the planet’s course makes when retrograde.

Too often Retrogradation is accepted as part of the astrological tradition, and not given much thought or meaning.

This cyclical phenomenon appeared instead positively magical to the ancient sky-watchers, who eagerly awaited it, calculated its timing and duration and attributed to it great significance, in forecasting future events, in accordance with the nature of the planet involved.

We, modern people don’t need any more to search the sky for signs, to wait to see a star or planet rising before the Sun. Cyber-planetariums and astrological software are all we need to practice our Art. Thanks to technology we have the tools now to cast many horoscopes in record time, using the most sophisticated techniques ever, but we have also lost the ‘real’ magic of the night sky and twilight hours, the eternally returning cycles of the wandering planets, a vital dimension of the ancient wisdom tradition.

Understanding better what happens during a planet’s retrograde period and putting that particular period within the context of the planet’s whole cycle can help us to recapture some of its true meaning.

Every cycle in nature and therefore in the psyche of man can be conceived as having two halves or hemicycles, one of involution and one of evolution, a Yin and a Yang phase. The place where Yin and Yang meet is the matrix of each cycle, while the place of their maximum separation is the climax of each cycle. So we have a Waxing Phase, from matrix to climax, and a Waning Phase, from climax to matrix, in an eternal round. This specific rhythm permeates everything, all living beings, all experiences. The planets are no different. They too obey the inner order of things, and therefore follow a clear path of Ascent and Descent when viewed from the Earth’s plane.

The Moon is not the only celestial body to show phases, all planets do, each in its own peculiar way. Retrogradation has a lot to do with those phases.

I’m using Mercury here as an example of what retrogradation entails. Mercury is the planet that goes retrograded more often than any other, three or four times a year.

Each Planet is different in fundamental ways from all others, even with regard to their retro periods, but the underlying Waxing/Waning tempo is basically the same for all.

Mercury, from Evening to Morning Star

Often the period of Mercury’s retrogradation is simply interpreted as a time full of misunderstandings, technical glitches, disruption in communication, odd accidents, etc. These effects are often obvious indeed, especially for people who happen to have the Sun, Moon, Planets or their Birth Chart’s Angles (Ascendant, etc.) within the span of the zodiac covered by Mercury.

When we attempt to interpret Mercury in a Birth Chart we tend to take its position (and that of all other celestial bodies) as fixed, a point in a linear, perhaps circular universe, in which Sun, Moon and Planets interact by angular relationship with each other, as in a neat example of cosmic geometry. We tend however to exclude from our interpretation the actual experience of Mercury as it manifests on our Earth plane.

We may learn from text books that Mercury’s orbit around the Sun in just less than three months (88 days), but the experience we have of the twinkling star that is Mercury to our unaided eyes is indeed very different. The visual cycle of Mercury lasts in fact 116 days (a bit less than four months), during which time this Planet, from our view point, appears to wax and wane.

In the light of the entire cycle the Retrogradation of Mercury is a most significant moment. During this special time the planet passes from waning to waxing, from Evening to Morning Star. This is not only a miracle to the beholder, seeing Mercury disappearing behind the Sun and then re-appearing on the other side, but a real shift of our awareness of the planet’s energy.

The retro period of any planet, like the dark three days of the New Moon, is a twilight status, like the one in between sleeping and wakening. We take usually a little while to wake up completely after a deep sleep. In real life as well as symbolically the in-between waking and sleep phase is all important because it is then that our creative imagination provides the most fertile ground for new insights.

Ten to fifteen days after the beginning of its retro motion Mercury becomes completely immersed in the light of the Sun, which has, in the mean time, caught up with it, due to its slowness. It is of course the Earth that is actually accelerating on Mercury, amounting to the same visual effect. The date of this all important conjunction for the upcoming cycle is October 1, 2015. At first will be a tentative beginning, when the new impulse is guided by yet unclear urges, stemming from the past while longing for the future.

Mid-way through its retro period, Mercury is as close to planet Earth than it will ever be, orbiting directly between us and the Sun disk. This conjunction of Mercury to the Sun is known as the Inferior Conjunction, to distinguish it from the Superior Conjunction when Mercury is as far from Earth as it can possibly be and also disappear in the glare of the Sun, being visually just behind the Sun from our observation point on Earth. The Superior conjunction is really an opposition Mercury-Earth in a heliocentric view. The next Superior Conjunction will occur on November 17, and will represent the culmination of the cycle that starts in October.

The phases bring to the ‘reading’ of Mercury an extra dimension, showing it as an ongoing process, rather than a fixed placement to be interpreted in a rigid way.

In this new light the Retrogradation of Mercury stands for a sort of preparatory period during which the lesson of the last mercurial cycle is appreciated and we look back in order to understand and re-value, before a new cycle can begin in a conscious way, when Mercury turns direct on October 1.

I hope that, if you didn’t know these facts already, you may feel better equipped now to answer your skeptic friends when they tell you that retrogradation is just an optical illusion and non existent. Something really happens to the relationship between the Earth and the planet when this appears to move in a backward fashion.

The astrological meaning of the Retrogradation of  Mercury

All planets’ retro periods represent a revaluation of sort, but what we need to reflect upon differs in accordance with the nature of the planet. So, for instance, during the retrogradation of Mars we need to re-value and re-consider the way we assert ourselves and go out to get what we want from life. This need of self-reflection could make this an ineffectual and tentative period, when for a time we may lose confidence, becoming less able to interact constructively with our environment. At the end we will have gained however a deeper understanding of what need changing in our attitude in order to achieve a less confrontational and more effective method of proceeding.

During the retrogradation of Venus the same thing happens to our feelings. We are inclined to reflect on the way we usually relate to others, especially in a one to one situation. For a time this could mean that we become more tentative when we relate to others, less outgoing, more introspective, not the best social time. But at the end of this tunnel too we may have discovered things about ourselves and our loved ones that can help immensely in healing rifts or deciding the fate of shaky or unsatisfactory relationships.

It is the same with Mercury. Its Evening Star incarnation (spanning in the second half of 2015 from July 23 = Superior Conjunction to the Sun, to October 1 = Inferior Conjunction to the Sun), represents a time for giving due consideration to the way we communicate our thoughts and ideas to others, the way we tackle intellectual challenges, like writing, reading, studying, teaching. In particular the retro motion of Mercury (September 17 to October 9) corresponds to a period of mental introspection, at the end of which we can start again to project our minds onto the world, with renewed inventiveness and adaptability to different circumstances and people.

In the Morning Star phase Mercury’s direct energy does in fact facilitate everything mercurial, such as change, communication, expression of idea in speech or writing, travel, brain-storming, moving etc. This is a forward looking mental impulse, bringing us out of ourselves and onto active participation with the world. This period will end with the Superior Conjunction on November 17, when our mental tendencies will have reached their more concrete and objective state. From then Mercury will begin to wane again, arriving at its next retro Station in Aquarius on January 5 2016.

To discover which phase Mercury was going through at the time of your birth all you need to do is look for its position relative to the Sun. When Mercury is behind the Sun in longitude it appears as the Morning Star, displaying an outgoing type of energy, eager for self expression. When Mercury instead is found to be ahead of the Sun in longitude it appears as the Evening Star, directing its mental energy inward, aiding insight and introspection.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra, September-October 2015

Hermes from Alistair Crowley Tarot deck

To represent this event I’ve chosen a Tarot image from Alistair Crowley’s deck representing the ‘Magician’ or ‘Magus’, first of the Major Arcana. To my eyes it depicts well the cosmic side of our little brother, his connection to the spiritual realm, his ability to ‘magically’ interconnect the physical, the psychic and the metaphysical. Mercury, and his Greek counterpart Hermes were the only gods permitted to travel between the three worlds, the earthly, the heavenly and the underworld, signifying the human mind’s potential to function at the rational level (earth realm), the spiritual (the heavenly realm) and the psychic level (the underworld) and to be thus the go-between these different level of awareness.

Mercury Retrograde

On September 17 Mercury began its Retrograde period that will last until October 9 2015, from the middle to the beginning of Libra. Mercury, now an Evening Star, will conjunct the Sun on October 1 (Inferior Conjunction), and afterword return to the morning sky.

This special Transit will be felt by everyone, at some level, but in particular those people who were born with the Sun, Moon, Planets or Chart’s Angles in the first half of the Sign of Libra (0 to 17 degrees); and also people with natal placements in the other Cardinal Signs, Aries, Cancer and Capricorn. The effect will vary in intensity and quality of experience depending on the nature of the celestial body or Angle involved.

During the whole Mercury retro’s period we may encounter many opportunities to review our thinking, to become more flexible so to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. To have too rigid plans and expectations, from others as well as ourselves, may not work during this time.

Stay tuned to your inner feelings, listen to your intuition and don’t try to rationalize too much. Creativity, dreaming, imagination can all gain from a retro period of Mercury, especially in the artistic and aesthetically minded Sign of Libra.

Mercury/Hermes represents our inquisitive spirit and intellectual curiosity. He was he who ‘invented’ the spoken and written languages we use to share ideas and thoughts. Despite this, during a Mercury’s retro phase, non verbal communication are naturally facilitated over verbal, because we all can more easily tap into our innate abilities to ‘read’ other people’s feelings and thoughts.

October 1 will be the turning point of this period, with Mercury conjunct the Sun, when those inner experiences may be at their strongest. At this point in fact Mercury will be passing directly between the Earth and the Sun, the closest he can ever be to our planet.

Apart from the conjunction to the Sun, the major alignment of Mercury during his retrogradation will be the 90 degrees angle to Pluto in Capricorn, repeating three times (earlier, in direct motion, on September 10; again, in retro motion, on September 25; and lastly, in direct motion, on October 23). This type of connection indicates generally a time not suitable for small talk or superficial conversation and reading, but rather a time when we can all penetrate a bit deeper and explore more courageously subjects that we may usually consider taboo or just too hard to discuss, demanding a level of intimacy and trust that is difficult to achieve in normal circumstances.

It could be an ideal time to embrace some form of ‘inner’ therapy, meditation, visualization etc. and also confront deeply buried issues festering in our unconscious: fears, feeling of inadequacy, dislike, resentment, jealousy, even undisclosed stuff we suspect others are hiding from us, or those lies we like to tell ourselves when too scared to look into what’s really going on. Sharing secrets and, by doing so, building trust with the people who matter to us could be scary now as always, but it could also prove incredibly rewarding during this suitable cosmic time.

Considering that most of the Mercury’s retro period will fall between two Eclipses (Solar on September 13 and Lunar on September 28) a period that some astrologers defines as a sort of twilight zone, there is even a greater chance for this Mercury’s phase to stir up our longing for a better knowledge of ourselves and others, transcending our habitual way of thinking and sharing ideas. Even in his more mischievous aspect of disrupting our routines and muddling our plans, Mercury retrograde offers an opportunity to think out of the box, to stop and consider things in greater depth, to understand what it’s really important and what instead we can do without or do in a different, less ‘straight’, more creative way.

Libra is a Venus’ Sign. This Mercury’s Retrogradation in Libra coming up just after the end of a difficult Venus’ Retrogradation (July 24 to September 7) will impact particularly on love relationships, heightening difficulties while offering opportunity for more real closeness and honesty.

If interested click here for a recent post on the general mechanics and meaning of Retrogradation, focusing mainly on Mercury.

An aside: Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo, the time Keepers’ recent Signs change

Contemporary with the beginning of the Retro Station of Mercury is the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius, where ponderous Saturn will reside until 2017. Hopefully this is not such a negative event, as some astrologers have been predicting, but rather a lift from Scorpio’s emotional quagmire to Sagittarius’ more open and philosophical outlook. Because Sagittarius is known to presides over religious dogma and matters of faith, many believe that Saturn transiting this Sign could spell more religious divisions and prejudices. I am more optimistic about this (wishful thinking, fear that the international situation could get even worse than what it is?). I sincerely hope but also see the real potential for this Transit to help to lighten the situation, offering a more enlightened, less personal approach to everything. Moving into Sagittarius Saturn has also finished his mutual dangerous dance with Pluto in Capricorn, each transiting the Sign traditionally ruled by the other during the time Saturn was in Scorpio (Mutual Reception 1).

1 Section on Mutual Reception from my Tutorial on the astrological Aspects. Click here to see the whole Aspect Page.
Mutual Reception is one of those astrological terms that often baffle the beginner. It may be at first a bit difficult to understand, having to do with the Planets’ connection to the Signs rather than with actual distances or angles between Planets. To ‘notice’ these types of Aspects in a Natal Chart one needs to know the Planets’ rulership over the Signs by heart. This Aspect joins the Planets in a mysterious, subtle but very real way. Such mingling of energies can be very creative.
Definition: two Planets are in Mutual Reception to each other when one is positioned in the Sign ruled by the other and vice versa.
A few examples should make this more clear:
Venus in Gemini (Sign ruled by Mercury) is in Mutual Reception to Mercury in Taurus (Sign ruled by Venus).
The Moon in Capricorn (Sign ruled by Saturn) is in Mutual Reception to Saturn in Cancer (Sign ruled by the Moon).
Jupiter in Virgo (Sign ruled by Mercury) is in Mutual Reception to Mercury in Sagittarius (Sign ruled by Jupiter).
The Moon in Aquarius (Sign co-ruled by Uranus) is in Mutual Reception to Uranus in Cancer (Sign ruled by the Moon).
The Sun in Aries (Sign ruled by Mars) is in Mutual Reception to Mars in Leo (Sign ruled by the Sun).