Is this Mercury retrograde intense or what?

June 26, 2020


I don’t like eclipses. I find it difficult to get anything done during the eclipse, and there are always bumps in the road. The period between a lunar and solar eclipse is especially dicey, and we had a lunar, then a solar, eclipse, and we’re gearing up for another lunar. Penumbral rather than full, to be sure, but still.

Mercury retrograde usually doesn’t bother me as much. It happens three or four times a year, for one thing, so I’d be biting my nails a lot if I got too hung up over it. Things also don’t progress as usual during Mercury retrograde, but I take it as a time to devote energy to neglected areas of life.

This Mercury retrograde, coinciding with eclipse season, has jarred me a bit. I had a serious car breakdown on the road yesterday and the car had to be towed. Something structural went wrong, and I was lucky not to crash or be hurt. I’m biting my nails waiting for the verdict, hoping the car can be repaired, because I don’t think I can afford another one.

I haven’t figured out how to get the car back. The garage is 25 miles away, and normally people are willing to offer rides, but we have a pandemic going on and nobody wants to be close to anyone else. What a bother! There’s a huge mountain between the valley and town, so a bicycle won’t work. We don’t have Uber here. Ugh. County public transportation has been discontinued until further notice, again for the pandemic.

I have been worried about my car for some time. I really need to start making some money. I’ve been stubborn about not giving up my writing, and I don’t have the constitution at this stage of life to work a full day and then come home and write in the evening and weekends. Really, I never did. I’m one of these sorry people, ill equipped for this age, who come home from work tired in mind if not body, and I need eight hours of sleep to function. Getting a job with longer hours to get a car would mean giving up writing and this blog, at least for awhile. That’s provided I could even get a job that would pay enough to buy a car. We’re in a pandemic.

I named the car I have now Greatest Love. I don’t want to part with it yet.

Full Moon Eclipse: It’s all about me

June 5, 2020

Full moon eclipse in Gemini this week, and while a partial eclipse in this sign isn’t necessarily the most powerful, other astrological features are intensifying things. The longer-term square between Saturn and Uranus is magnified by retrograde Venus squaring Mars, inching up to a Venus-in-retrograde conjunction with the Sun.

The dominant social feature of the moment is protests against police homicides of Black people, sparked by the murder of George Floyd. Law enforcement has remained stuck in its abysmal patterns, racism being the pattern highlighted by the protests, and people of all races are sick of the willful refusal of this segment of society to change. This is a widespread issue, social in nature, not really about any one person (although it’s important that certain high profile people in the incendiary event be held accountable).

The trouble is that eclipses, even though wide ranging in effect, are personally felt. The moon is the quintessential personal planet, ruling and fueling emotions, and detachment in favor of the greater good is almost impossible. I have felt myself being drawn into my frustration with White people on the Left, particularly the “Right-on Lefty Dudes,” for the self-aggrandizing way they capitalize on other people’s pain. I’ve seen others become distracted over the stupidity of Trump’s comments in response to the protests or the clueless-as-usual way the elite journalist class tries to interpret the situation for us. Trump’s decision to involve the military should be roundly criticized, but the heart of the protests can be whitewashed by focusing on tangential issues. Troublesome moon energy demands attention to personal feelings, however inappropriate or inconvenient they appear to the intellect. I believe the best way to handle this is to recognize the myriad of personal issues surfacing and prioritize what belongs where and what is important now. The personal is political, but not every personal issue belongs in every political response.

Of course, other important things besides the demonstrations are happening on the planet. There’s still COVID-19. I’ve seen people complain that Americans can’t think about more than one issue at a time because the attention of the moment in the US has moved from the pandemic to homicidal racist police. Well, we get to decide where we put our attention. At the same time, a popular medical vlogger in England got pulled up by Americans for ignoring police brutality on his vlog about COVID-19! Did I mention this is a self-centered transit? Me-me-me. With a solar eclipse at the Solstice, and another lunar eclipse on July 5th, expect the emotionally intense self-absorbed energy to last until at least the July new Moon on the 20th. Remember: your emotions are valid; you only need to be mindful of how they’re directed.

Desolate Places

August 22, 2019

It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman
Which gives the stern’st good-night.

~ William Shakespeare, MacBeth

Two of the most forsaken places in popular imagination are cemeteries at night and deep outer space. I spent an evening earlier this week at Norton Cemetery stargazing with a friend who has a really good telescope.

Photo: Greg Smith

As we waited for twilight to deepen, a bat flitted over our heads. Eastern Coyotes wailed in the distance. As the night got underway, a Long-Eared Owl began her subtle one-note song.

The Ojibwe call death “crossing the owl bridge,” and the Tohono O’odham bury owl feathers with loved ones. The association in Western Europe of owls with death is thought to carry over from the pre-Indo-European practice of excarnation, the placement of dead bodies on platforms to be devoured by birds. But all the bodies in this cemetery were in the ground.

Photo: Rawastrodata

I heard the territorial scream of a Long-Eared Owl a few years ago, and I’ll never forget it. A friend and I were camping and awakened in the night by the sound, so piercing that we scrambled out of our sleeping bags trying to place it. In contrast, the single long note of the placid Long-Eared Owl could easily be missed if not repeated.

The stargazing was great. We looked at Saturn with his rings and Jupiter with his moons and debated how “Io” should be pronounced (I say EE-oh, you say EYE-oh).

One of the most awesome sights through the telescope, six thousand light years away, was the Wild Duck star cluster. It was discovered in 1681 by Gottfried Kirch and included in Charles Messier’s 1764 catalog (M-11). It is supposed to resemble the tale of a duck in flight. Honestly, I couldn’t see it, but it is a beautiful cluster.

Event Chart for Notre Dame Fire

April 16, 2019

In the wake of the fire that gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday, there have been many articles and blog posts describing the spectacular blaze as well as the tumultuous history of the 850 year old cathedral. I’m going to interpret some astrological data for the event.

I don’t have a time for the dedication of the building, so I’m going to look at general astrological data as the fire started. According to Paris police, the fire was discovered at 6:50 p.m. local time on April 15. The fire could (and probably did) start earlier than this, but since this is an old wooden building, and therefore a tinder box, it is doubtful that it smoldered for long. Moon sign is probably correct.

Events of far reaching destruction and change are generally driven by outer planets – Pluto, Chiron, Jupiter, and (especially) Uranus. Inner planets Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars trigger the timing of the event.

Looking at the outer planets, using sign-specific orb of 5 degrees or less, there is a hard aspect (a square) between a Pluto-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn and the Sun in Aries. Saturn is the planet of karma and slow, difficult growth. Pluto is a planet of transformation, rebirth, and inevitable change. This difficult conjunction reflects uncomfortable events happening in the world in general right now. Again, these planets are squaring the Sun. Squares generate energy through resistance, and in this case the square involves a fire sign, Aries.

There is another square involving Jupiter in its home fire sign of Sagittarius and a Mercury-Venus conjunction. Again, this is triggering conflict, resistance, and energy.

While squares generate energy through resistance, there has to be accommodating aspects for that energy to be expressed. In this case the planet most associated with sudden, disruptive change, Uranus, trines the planet closest to the Earth, the Moon. This is the aspect that facilitated the flames. This, and a trine between Jupiter and the Sun, both in their home fire signs.

An accommodation of destructive energy is reflected to a lesser extent in the sextile between Chiron, an asteroid also associated with deep change, and the aggressive planet Mars. The 9th House placement of Mars is significant, since this house is associated with religion and government. Of course the Ascendant is not completely reliable here, since it is impossible to know exactly when the fire started, but even pushing the time back to 5:00 p.m. keeps Mars in the 9th House.

The astrological data in the event chart is potential, not predictive, since it describes influences on the whole earth at the time in question. Looking at planetary transits in the context of a chart specific to the Cathedral could shed additional information.

Year of the Pig

February 8, 2019

Elephant seals next week.

The Chinese Year of the Pig began this week. The pig in Chinese astrology is a calm, prosperous, gentle animal, generous and focused. Here are some brief horoscopes for Year of the Pig.

A roundup of world folktales about pigs can be found here.

A four-part article I wrote several years ago about the sow in Western mythology is here.

I read once that you’re not supposed to clean the house for the first three days of the Chinese New Year, so as not to clean out the good luck. It seemed like good advice, and I started applying it to the Gregorian new year as well. What a boon to have days when you not only don’t clean, you don’t feel like you should be cleaning. I decided that the no-cleaning days should apply to Halloween (the Celtic new year) and Yule (the Heathen new year). Then I started celebrating Diwali and Rosh Hashana, by not cleaning of course. Now if I don’t feel like cleaning, I can say “It’s New Year’s somewhere.”

The Change in Progress

July 27, 2018

I have a lot on my mind right now, but the astrologers say this is not the best time for sharing, with a super lunar eclipse in progress and so many planets retrograde.

Until next week, Hearth.

A New Moon

January 19, 2018

NASA photo

A new moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation and how one gives birth
to oneself slowly. Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.

–Rumi

The moon has recently turned to its waxing phase. Both the full and the new moon exert a strong gravitation pull on the earth’s waters, but the energies are different. I find that things seem to slow down at the new moon, so that progress being made is difficult to discern. We tend to be detail oriented and to research things at this time, rather than expressing ourselves spontaneously. Next month, at the solar eclipse, this energy will be even more pronounced.

New Webinar for October

September 8, 2017

I’m excited to announce that I will be leading another webinar in October.

MASTERING MOON ENERGY
How the Moon Effects Your Magic

A Webinar with Hearth Moon Rising

How does moon energy enhance (or inhibit) the effectiveness of your spells? What rituals work best for various moon phases? How do moon phases and sun positions interact magically? This class will help you use moon and sun energies more effectively in your practice.

The five week class will cover:

1) Dynamics of the moon’s path. Why does the moon effect life on earth so profoundly?
2) How do moon phases and signs influence a ceremony, spell, or activity?
3) How to handle void-of-course and eclipse energies.

The webinar is open to women and men and is appropriate for all levels of experience. Witches, druids, heathens, ceremonial magicians, and shamans will find this class helpful.

The webinar will meet Mondays October 9 to November 6 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time. Meetings will be recorded and registrants will be able to access the lecture portion of the recording whether or not they attend.

Cost is $80.

More information here.

Solar Eclipse 2017

August 18, 2017

Photo: NASA
Fear around eclipses has been recorded since Babylonian times, and in fact many of the Babylonian advances in mathematics and astronomy were inspired by a need of rulers to anticipate and prepare for eclipses. What’s so bad about an eclipse? It’s a stressful time on the planet, where health, mental health, and relationships can break down. Violence can also be a manifestation of this breakdown. Maintaining stasis is difficult.

Another way of looking at the stress of an eclipse is that some things do need to be leveled. Both the violence in Charlottesville which occurred last week and the subsequent groundswell against white supremacy are manifestations of an eclipse. Decisions to step up the leveling of statues glorifying the era of slavery in the United States are also influenced by the energy of the eclipse.

A solar eclipse is a clearing energy, so working to clear bad habits or uproot problems in a relationship is a way of working with this energy. This is not a time for starting something new, not until the clearing energy of the lunar/solar eclipse combined with Mercury retrograde exhausts itself by the next new moon in late September. It is a time for taking extra precautions regarding personal safety: people are driving a bit crazy right now.

In my own life, the eclipse window has coincided with dental problems, the flu, and an irrepressible compulsion to literally clean house. If you have anything you wish to clear out, literally or figuratively, this is the time.

Retro-Spective

April 14, 2017

Photo: NASA.

Both Mercury and Venus are retrograde right now, along with Jupiter and Saturn, but don’t freak out just yet.

“Retrograde” simply means that from our Earth perspective the planets are going “backwards” in the sky, although in reality they are tootling along like they always do. The outer planets are retrograde a good part of the time, so Jupiter and Saturn retrograde seems like business as usual, nothing to remark upon. Jupiter, for example, went retrograde in February and will go direct in June before going retrograde again in March of next year. Venus is more significant, as this planet goes retrograde every few years for about six weeks. Venus will go direct in a few days, so that retrograde is about done until June 2020.

So what about Mercury? That’s the retrograde people have learned to fear. I have written before on this blog how retrograde Mercury is a shift in attention, usually toward an area that has not been getting much focus. I recommend taking another look at this post.

My understanding of retrogrades, and particularly Mercury retrograde, is undergoing another transformation. I am especially taking exception to the admonition frequently given that the problems of Mercury retrograde are “your own damn fault. If you’d just been conscientious about your diet/maintenance/bookkeeping you wouldn’t have anything to fear from Mercury retrograde.” I don’t like this perspective because, for one thing, we can’t focus everywhere at once: our lives are too complex. The shift in attention may be needed, if unwelcome, but it’s not necessarily a punishment. You may have to take “lessons” from what happens at this time or you may not, depending on the situation. Whatever happens, you will find yourself preoccupied with things you don’t normally think too much about, though they will (probably) not be bizarre or highly unusual things.

But my thinking has evolved a bit further, to the point where I actually look forward to Mercury retrograde. Yes, it can be a wonderful time! This is when problems are addressed and often resolved, usually problems dealing with health, communication, finance, commerce, construction, or machinery. They can be hidden problems rising to the surface, which is the aspect of Mercury that is frustrating, or they can be longstanding problems. It’s a great time to proofread, revise, revisit, and reflect.

Take advantage of these next few weeks to problem-solve and resolve issues, especially the niggling kind that sap your energy. This may be the time you admit that you’re over your head in certain areas and go the doctor, hire a bookkeeper, or ask a friend to help you organize a project. This is a good time to use your magic for solving personal problems that seem outside your control.