The Cosmic Storyteller:
Mercury retrogrades as Outer Planets Go Direct
Autumn Equinox: Balance & Release
Fall arrived here in Wickford in a mix of cloudy and sunny weather, but today the clear sky, hot sun and cool breezes made for a perfect September day in Rhode Island. We are blessed to live here at the ocean’s edge. We stand on the borderlands between earth and ocean, between known and unknown.
That's also true for this time we live in. We are all living on the borderlands, looking into a mysterious and unknown future. In reality, life is always uncertain like that, but we Americans have gotten complacent about our well-being, quietly accepting a world on the brink of disaster, instead of embracing much needed change. Change is the only constant of life. The world is evolving, whether we want it to or not. Unfortunately, it's really de-volving. Earth's biosphere is unhealthy. It's unraveling each time a species goes extinct from human pollution and over-population. I just read that 23 more species went extinct this week.
What kind of crisis will wake us up? I know that if we are brave enough, and strong enough, and wise enough, to consciously evolve with the times, we could create a different kind of world.
The questions I always ask when discussing modern society is, "What culture poisons its own people and food?" "What kind of people are we to care so little for our children's well-being that we're not willing to sacrifice our comforts for a better life for them?"
These are just some questions we could ask ourselves for this important Mercury retrograde period.
The Sun moves into Libra, the sign of the Scales, at the Autumn Equinox. A day when the light and the dark are balanced. It only happens two times a year – at the two Equinoxes, Spring and Autumn. It brings the light/dark back into balance for a moment before it heads back toward imbalance.
That’s what Autumn Equinox embodies – the need to re-balance after the exuberance of Summer’s light and heat (our Southern brethren will be emerging from the dark and cold and embracing new life and heat.). Since we are part of Earth’s biosphere, we too are heading into the cold and dark time of year, a time to withdraw into ourselves and dream of next year’s life. This Equinox is the time to take stock of our lives – asking “what have we learned and where are we headed?”
The Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is celebrated around Autumn Equinox. It is a day to look within and see who you’ve been and what you've done for the past year. To look at your shadow and bring it into the light. It is a time to see, acknowledge and then let go of what no longer serves your life. Because, this night also determines what the next year will bring. As you acknowledge and know your gifts and faults, you have to forgive yourself, make amends when needed and pledge to remember and change. And grow!
This is a night of choice for pagans as well. We sing at the Equinoxes:
Onward we go round the Spiral,
Touching Darkness, touching Light.
Twice each turn we rest in balance.
Make choices on this night.
Make choices on this night.
This is a time to make adjustments within ourselves. It is an adjustment that needs to be made each year as summer passes into fall, in either hemisphere. In our pagan rituals, we ask, “What have you harvested this year? What are you releasing this year? Have you gathered your seeds for the future?”
The wheel of life turns ever onward.
To everything (turn, turn, turn).
There is a season (turn, turn, turn).
And a time for every purpose under Heaven.
In this time of cultural breakdown and change, the best thing we can do is to return to our roots – to the rhythms of Mother Earth. When there’s trauma, we get whacked out of rhythm with ourselves. So we need to reestablish that rhythmic re-patterning that the seasons, dancing, music and drumming give us. Once we re-establish our own rhythm, we can bring more balance and harmony to those around us.
Mother Earth’s seasons ground us and can lead us back to center. (Uranus in Taurus is connecting us electrically to Mother Earth.) Every day She helps us understand the different tempos of Life, and grounds us in ‘reality’ at the same time as She takes us into a different reality – the reality of her living Earth.
In Chinese medicine, this is the season of the lungs, skin and intestines, those organs that help us release toxins, and those things that no longer serve us. Just as the trees lose their leaves in the Fall, so do we release what no longer nourishes us, allowing us to make room for new life.
We don’t have to let fear keep us from this next part of our journey into the Dark. For the seeds we hold in the dark will be the ones that blossom next year. Make choices on this night!
"Fear holds you still when you need to move,
and moves you when you need to be still.
Fear makes you silent when you need to be loud,
and loud when you need silence.
Fear closes your throat when you need to breathe.
Fear weakens your hand and blinds your eyes.
FEAR is a danger. Know your fear. Face your fear. Practice."
Elizabeth Vaughan, Warsworn
Maybe you’re wondering what this has to do with Mercury retrograde. Well, we’re here. Mercury is the Messenger god, the one who can travel through all realms of life. If Mercury represents the Mind, then it tells us the Mind can travel all over the cosmos and into the underworld. It doesn’t just stay in 3D reality.
Mercury retrogrades are all about purifying our perceptions. We do this by shifting our attention and energy within. If we let our minds race ahead of our hearts, we run into trouble. Mercury goes retrograde so often because it orbits so close to the Sun. From Earth’s point of view, it looks like it goes backwards at these times. Symbolically, we need to take heed. Our society has us rushing around with too much on our plates. Our consciousness can only hold so much before it needs to backtrack and rethink, release, reorganize, redo, and/or remember things.
The Sabian symbol for Mercury going retrograde at 26* Libra is: An Eagle and a large white Dove change into each other. What happens when Love is our will and our will is to do the work of Love?
Hermeticism states: As Above, So Below. As Within, So Without. The within and without are the same. If we live in outer turmoil, look for the inner turmoil and tame it. Mercury/Hermes is the Mind and our mind focuses our energy. Where we put our attention matters. Do you see why it’s so important to use this time to tame the mind and let it re-discover silence? When the Mind is silent, the heart can be heard. And then we know what to do. Then the Eagle will turn into the Dove.
This year, all three Mercury retrogrades are in AIR signs – the signs of communication, learning, connection, teaching, ideas, relationships and inspiration. It means we need to re-think how we live. In Aquarius, Mercury connected us to envisioning our future with our group mind. In Gemini, Mercury helped us re-examine old beliefs so we could open our minds to new ideas. In Libra, Mercury will ask us to incorporate new ideas about justice, balance and fairness between people, in private relationships and in society.
While Mercury moves back through Libra from September 26th - 27th to October 18th, it will square Pluto in Capricorn twice: once on October 1st before Pluto goes direct on October 6th and again on November 2nd when Pluto is direct. This indicates a deep course correction for some of us. Pluto deepens the Mind (Mercury) – whether with deep thoughts or by taking us deep within our own souls, since Mercury is the only god who can travel between realms. Either way, Pluto is definitely a call to the Underworld.
Thankfully, Venus, the ruler of Libra, is in Scorpio, the sign of Pluto’s Underworld, so if we do the work now, she will be there to help us. Help us connect with our deepest wounds, our deepest sorrows and our deepest desires.
Mercury went retrograde on September 26th - 27th at 26* Libra opposite the dwarf planet Eris in Aries. Eris reminds Mercury that we must listen to our hearts if we don’t want discord in our lives. She reminds the Mind that it can stand up for the heart’s wisdom.
Next, Mercury will trine Jupiter in Aquarius on October 3rd and again on October 31st – November 1st, after Jupiter turns direct on October 17th – 18th. Mercury and Jupiter energies make a powerful combination, for Jupiter opens the Mind to encompass Spirit, community and possibilities. Jupiter moving forward again can open us to outer abundance, good fortune and growth, and can also help us find meaning in our lives. So on Mercury’s third trine to Jupiter on Samhain/ Halloween, you might try to use your Mind to open yourself to your ancestor spirits. Remember, Mercury can travel to the Underworld. They are there to help and heal us if we let them. At least spend some time honoring them.
Finally Mercury doesn’t get back to exactly trine Saturn at 7* Aquarius but it’s close enough at 11* Libra when it turns direct. This aspect will give your mind strength, focus and discipline. Keep what works and let go of what doesn’t.
Pluto in Capricorn going direct will be heading to next year’s Pluto return in America’s 4th of July birth chart. We are due for a revolution. We can make it be a peaceful revolution of ideas and expansive freedoms if we each stand up for peace, justice and fairness. If we learn to listen to those we don’t agree with, instead of getting snippy about it. Listen and learn.
Individually, Pluto going direct will show us how much of the old patriarchal order we’ve let go of in our lives. The rules live within us. Break the old rules and make new ones.
Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius can now continue what they began with the new cycle of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius that started December 21, 2020. The future belongs to new ideas and new possibilities. We cannot go back to some fake idyllic time -=- although hearing kids out playing in the neighborhood on warm summer nights would be delightful.
Individually, Jupiter and Saturn’s new cycle in Aquarius indicates that the wave of the future is community oriented. Whether we call ourselves tribes or families, like-minded and like-hearted people will build community together. Coming to a town near you soon!
Finally, Mercury retrograde will form inconjuncts to Neptune in Pisces on October 5th and to Uranus in Taurus on October 11th – 12th. With the inconjunct to Neptune, watch out for communication confusion or misunderstandings with others. With Uranus, since both Taurus and Libra are ruled by Venus, the needed adjustment between these two planets might just be to slow down and ground in all the wonderful ideas you’re having. Uranus stimulates the Mind to cosmic proportions, so once again, ground and center before you rush into anything too wild.
With all the interaction with the outer planets, this Mercury retrograde has a lot to teach us about connecting to these big energies. Try to go slow so you can integrate the lessons. This is about showing us how we’re connecting to the collective Mind. Do you have something to share? Now’s the time to do it.
This important Mercury retrograde can be a time for you to expand your vision of your life. Why are you here if not to take a stand on what is happening in our world. There is so much work to be done. Perhaps Mercury will help you find how you can engage in the world.
The New Moon in Libra occurs on October 6th at 14* Libra, just hours before Pluto turns direct at 25* Capricorn. Mars and Mercury are close to this New Moon, so we might feel like we have to do something, speak out about something or mediate something. It will also inconjunct Uranus in Taurus, so watch out for sudden surprises that you’ll have to make adjustments for.
Find out where Libra is in your chart and you’ll know what areas of life will be effected by the Mercury retrograde. In my chart, it’s all happening in my 5th house of play, children, creativity and fun. I’m re-writing an old screenplay into a book and it is fun and creative. What are you doing?
Whatever is happening in your world, don’t forget you can always go out into Nature and let Mother Earth ground and center you. The future is not fixed! Let your Mind rest in silence and find your truth.
Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,
the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back
from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere
except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle
of unobservable mysteries -- roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This
I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn
flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay -- how everything lives, shifting
from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.
~ Mary Oliver ~