Cosmic Coordinates — Mercury Opposite Saturn

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Mercury will oppose retrograde Saturn from Aries to Libra for the last time this weekend. Taking place at the same time as an immensely auspicious Scorpio Full Moon while Mars vents volcanically at the south bending of the lunar nodes, a little old opposition of Mercury and Saturn may not seem like much. A closer look reveals a sleeper, a dark horse, a ringer, a game-changer, essentially a double opposition, symbolizing a unique opportunity to locate your place in the scheme of things as though you were finding your position on a map.

Astrology by Len Wallick

This weekend Earth will be located between Mercury and Saturn. That’s an opposition, seen as objects on opposite sides of a zodiac circle. In a rare concurrence, Mercury and Saturn will be simultaneously contra-parallel, an aspect most charts leave out because of how our solar system is laid out.

All the planets visible to your unaided eye (and a good many other objects) orbit the Sun in approximately the same geometric plane we do. Because of that, the visible planets appear to follow much the same path across the night sky that the Sun’s apparent motion traces during the day. That single fact makes it possible to represent the three-dimensional solar system with the two dimensional zodiac circle diagram you see so often. It’s a form of shorthand, leaving the near-constant of latitude unstated, emphasizing the longitudinal position of other planets relative to Earth. What variation of latitude does exist is usually represented separately as a relation to the surface of the Earth, and measured in degrees of declination above or below the equator.

Planets in the same degree of declination on opposite sides of the equator are said to be contra-parallel. It is an opposition in latitude just as two planets on opposite sides of the zodiac circle are an opposition in longitude. To have both forms of opposition take place at the same time for any two objects is very rare.

In astrology, very rare events are very meaningful, indicating that normally disparate parts of your life are concurrently crossing paths in a way not often seen. On a map, the place where lines of latitude and longitude cross paths marks a position. That is symbolically what Mercury and Saturn will do this weekend in their double opposition. To analyze that position we first need to consider the two oppositions separately, then use our minds to evaluate what coordinates they indicate.

Mercury, the planet, is far away, but its cycles and patterns correspond to matters of mind and its expression here on Earth. While moving through the cardinal fire of Aries, Mercury usually represents an active mind, examining and expressing itself. Soon after first entering Aries over two months ago, Mercury stationed retrograde and rolled back into Pisces for over three weeks. That retrograde period was probably abundant with opportunities for self examination, leaving you with an urge to balance things out with some self-expression and outer exploration over the last week or so. An opposition to Saturn this weekend will probably correspond to a feeling of being grounded. The question is in what sense you choose to feel grounded.

When an adolescent or teenager is grounded by their parents, it usually means being confined to home and school, restricting freedom of movement in the world. The other sort of grounding is the type you either do for yourself or appreciate receiving from others, coming down to Earth, getting focused, and taking care of business. At its best, Saturn represents the latter, more constructive form of grounding, but its reputation is loaded with negative perception.

Going back to ancient times, Saturn’s reputation is associated with the more punitive form of grounding, the kind imposed upon you, but ask yourself: Would you want other people to judge you by a reputation you incurred and grew out of long ago? Astrology is not something that happens to you without recourse; you have choices. Neither is astrology the same as it used to be. It is a human activity, evolving and changing as the human mind grows and transforms. That’s how Mercury, archetype of your mind and its means, can be interpreted in a present-day opposition to Saturn, capable of choosing the more agreeable alternative without being bound to repeat the past.

For its part, Saturn will soon conclude its final period of retrograde motion during a journey through Libra of more than two years. Because it takes nearly 30 years to orbit the Sun, Saturn appears to move very slowly from our perspective. That is especially so now as the ringed one gradually slows to stop and resume direct motion in the last week of June. The deliberation implied by Saturn’s slow motion is a plus, unless you consider impatience to be a good thing. Clothed in the raiment of Libra, that deliberate, grounding, focused Saturn meme encourages you to bring balance to your life in a conscious manner, taking the time to listen to other minds besides your own, to see things from another perspective. In that sense, a contra-parallel aspect is also a representation of balance made available to you, but once again, it’s a question of how you choose to take it.

This weekend, at the same time Earth is moving in between Mercury and Saturn, both of those planets will assume a balanced position in regards to the surface of the Earth. Mercury will be directly overhead for those who are about seven degrees North of the equator and Saturn will be directly over the heads of those about seven degrees South of the equator. That is an image of balance if ever there was one and the latitudinal mid-point of the the contra-parallel will be the place from which our concepts of balance and equality originate and are most tangibly expressed twice a year.

Twice a year, when the Sun’s apparent motion takes it over Earth’s equator we have an equinox. The equinox is a period of days when every being on Earth has equal light and equal night, all together, all at once. When you see the Sun rise during an equinox, no matter who you are or where you are at, you are looking at absolute East with everybody else, all together, all at once. The same is true for West at sunset. The contra-parallel of Mercury and Saturn, taking place concurrently with their opposition, thus represents not only an opportunity for you but everyone else to ground ourselves in the moment and take the time to examine everything and everybody, everywhere, including you, as a single entity, undivided and interdependent, moving with each other, all together, all at once. Because that’s the way it is.

If you were riding the rings of Saturn this weekend you would look towards the Sun to see Earth and Mercury conjoin in the sky. If you were fire walking on the surface of Mercury this weekend you would look away from the Sun to see Earth and Saturn in a similar merger. Only here, on our planet, will the alignment be seen as an opposition from two different perspectives, but that’s a very good thing if you choose to spare a moment’s reflection and focus on where the two perspectives intersect and what it means about where you are. It means that you are not separate and alone. It means that you are one with all earthly beings, and not just for the moment of the aspect, either. If you really work with the double opposition of Mercury and Saturn, if you really slow down and think about it with an active mind, you will see that the place the two oppositions intersect really is the same for you and everybody, forever and ever, amen. Now, get out of the house and share a knowing smile with yourself.  

Offered In Service             

Len is available for astrology readings. You can contact him at lenwallick [at] gmail [dot] com.

Len Wallick

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31 Responses to Cosmic Coordinates — Mercury Opposite Saturn

  1. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    maria —

    “And inheritance–my father wanted to be a writer but got that punched out of him and so he built nuclear missiles instead.”


    but thanks for following up the heavy with some light, vis-a-vis “prick up your ears.” at this point, i think i’d be happy to have just about any part “pricked up.”

  2. a_priori a_priori says:

    be: you rule! i would love to see a column by you on this blog.

  3. Kelly says:

    “What the world needs now is love, sweet love…”

    Thank you Len

  4. Lunesoleil says:

    @ Len :)

    I am not a reader of Baudelaire, you threw a look at my reflection full moon on my blog?
    I wish you a good weekend of full moon

  5. Hugging Scorpio says:

    Thanks Len! Really great read.

    Just to share, this retro of Saturn has felt softer, more gentler. Like a co-op placement to see you put the lessons into actual experience without judgment, just guidance. The lead up to it has been def harder though. But filled with opportunities unlike a lot in my life. I will look upon this transit with affection. It was in my solar 12th, although I’m Libra rising – and that was also felt in a 1st house kind of way too. I know there are still opportunities in this transit, but I’ve gained strength from it. A kind of self emergence and deep purging of old patterning. Every aspect to Saturn lights it up, gives it way to inform one of how to integrate ones deeper foundations in one’s daily life as an independent force or unit. Our relationships are only stronger because of it.


  6. mariapadhila says:

    “Prick up your ears.” Joe Orton! heh heh. sorry, I’m such a Beavis.

  7. mariapadhila says:

    Whoa. I don’t know how to thank you, Len. I’d forgotten all about 8th house = legacy. And inheritance–my father wanted to be a writer but got that punched out of him and so he built nuclear missiles instead. I’m going to have to “do something” with all the almost-done novels and spilling-over poems. This is the signal to find a way. Of course, a real strong signal would be a winning lotto ticket, but I’ll settle for this one.
    (ALso thanks for praise, but I don’t think of writing as something I do as much as something that happens — in a lot of cases, I’m taking dictation. Praise the spaghetti monster!)
    Re slowing down: I just had my eyes operated on and it’s making me slow, all right. I can never find the right glasses or computer magnification and i can’t read and write and look things up all on the same time on two screens and a phone, and I’ve been complaining about it to everyone and people are really sick of hearing it. At work, I got ordered to give pieces of my projects to other people because things are too out of balance. Oh, dag. Well, you were right on target!

  8. Lea Burning River says:

    Hi Len, I told you many moons ago that you are the T.S. Eliot of astrologers. Everyone on this blog today seems to be agreeing with me. Just take it, dear man.

  9. awordedgewise awordedgewise says:

    I recently I began wondering about the 3D version of astrology and here today is a clear lesson in your very own remarkable poetry. This is not the first time you have read my question from across the orb. Now I understand why astro charts can be “flat” while the sky is still round.
    Thank you too for teaching me about utilizing Mercury and Saturn for Balance. Balance seems to be a tricky subject lately, I’m grateful for your continuing support.

  10. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    be: Thank you for that.

  11. bkoehler says:


    On the right side of this page near the top there is a blue heading called “Tracy’s Astrological Resources”. Click on that then choose “Astrological Ephemeris”. When that opens it will show on the graph list the location of the nodes (both ‘mean’ and ‘true’) for the day (listed below the major planets, Sun, Moon, etc.). It will show only the north node though, and like Len says, the south node will be in the opposite sign, same degree. That way you can check both nodal readings for any baby born “today” as well as where their other planets, asteroids, etc. are. If you check the next day they will have moved slightly. If you check in again in two weeks for any new babies nodal readings, they will probably be at least a degree or so different from the original baby’s two weeks previous. In fact, you don’t even have to wait 2 weeks, because you can change the date at the top of the listings to see the reading of any date you like then click Go (or whatever the word is that starts the search. . not sure if it is Go or Start or something else).

  12. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    Lunesoleil: It appears as though Baudelaire is visiting upon you. Please remember to keep his genius close and his darkness far away.

    mariapadhila: Speaking of genius, that’s you and it’s not flattery, it’s an encouragement to confidence. Your mention of the 5th and 8th houses is a a stroke of inspiration that shows you already have a good handle. Let’s take it a piece at a time.

    A conjunction and Mercury and Mars says “impatience” regardless of placement. In your fifth natal house, it can make you go where angels fear to tread, which is very cool and potentially very fun but you my be disappointed or surprised when others can’t keep up with you. That potential is unavoidable because of the Libra placement – others will be along for the ride. There is a karma thing going on with all that, only you will be able to say what that is, and transiting Saturn is the messenger you should not kill. It’s like John Lennon said about a certain state of mind – it makes you slow down so that you can look at things more closely. Think of it this way, if you stop and smell the roses, your fellow travelers will be able to catch up and it will be a win-win.

    The square to your natal Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in the 8th is an encouragement to think about your legacy. You are beautiful in the here and now. Please consider how to make that beauty immortal. You have an insight into the 21st Century psyche that is unequaled in my experience. Please, can you put that insight into a work that will prick up our ears an astound those who see the next century’s Venus transit? Addressing that square will produce that work of its own course. If not you, who? If not now, when?

    As to the amateur theatre thing – be confident in the face of the audience and humble in the face of the script and you’ll excell.

    Please, Maria, how does that work for you?

  13. mariapadhila says:

    Len appreciation day! I like his sense if humor.
    But even after reading this, I’m still scared. Saturn is on top of my natal mercury/mars conjunction (5th) and squaring my natal Jupiter/Saturn conjunction (8th)
    Any wisdom on how to ride this one and actually get some use out of it is so welcome. I really did all my drama last week and was hoping I could chill for a while. Help!!!
    I’ll be in an amateur theater thing (5th) Saturday night and both my dudes (8th) will be there. Hmmm.
    Maybe it could not be about me! Yay!
    Grounded. That was funny.

  14. Lunesoleil says:

    This contact Saturn/Mercury will play on the capricious climate and why not darkened by the cloud and a fucking of temperature, chills… attention it will be my first empty attic of the year and that will last for 2 days…. at 10 km from my home. I have not yet chosen the day would be Saturday, Sunday to go do his duty of a citizen and vote for the future President…. good full moon all weekend :)

  15. a_priori a_priori says:

    Good stuff, the nodes. You make my mind sing. #harmony

  16. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    a_priori: Pleased to be of service.

    One more thing for reference in the near future (like, 17 days in the future). When Sun and Moon come together in the sky, that’s a New Moon. When Sun and Moon come together in the sky near a node, that’s a New Moon AND a solar eclipse. The most important thing about the lunar nodes is that is where eclipses take place because it is where the path of the Moon intersects (solar eclipse) or opposes (lunar eclipse) the apparent path of the Sun.

  17. a_priori a_priori says:

    It does! Score!

  18. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    a_priori: You are not a bother. i am in your service. Now that you are being clear, the answer is also clear. The node shown on your natal chart is the true North node for the moment you were born. The South node is not usually shown because the software designer assumes you know to look in the same place of the opposite sign and know that it’s there. It’s another form of shorthand.

    Now, please advise, does that settle the issue for you?

  19. a_priori a_priori says:

    Len: Thanks for hanging in there with me. :)

    I’m trying to correlate north/south to (my) natal chart where only the mean, true, oscillating, etc. nodes are noted. Do they correlate? For babes born {{today}} what would their ‘mean’ node be?

    My feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t reply. I may not understand the question I am asking and don’t want to torture you… Thank you.

  20. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    a_priori: Please forgive me for not understanding your question correctly. Okay, please don’t let that terminology hang you up. There are two lunar nodes. They are always and by definition opposed. They are always in the same spot in opposite signs. The rest is splitting hairs.

    The “North” node is where the Moon’s orbit rises “above” Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The “South” node is where Moon’s orbit goes below the ecliptic.

    Make a straight line. Make a dot at each end of he line. Those are the nodes. Connect a perpendicular line to the straight line and make the letter “T”. Put a dot at the end of the perpendicular line. That’s Mars. Now, please, does that work for you?

  21. a_priori a_priori says:

    Yes..! Sort of. But in terms of all this ‘Mars (virgo) square the north (sagg) and south (gemini) nodes’ business… Is the mean node the ‘mean’ of the north and south? If so, the mean is always square the south and north?

    Forgive me if I’m mistaking the obvious here. Searching for the metaphorical equivalent.

  22. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    P. Sophia: Welcome and thank you. Yes, in agreement with you, there is “a lot of that going around” as regards to perceptions of time and connection. The astrology corresponds with that given the placement of Pluto near the Capricorn Solstice point and the placement of Uranus near the Vernal Solstice point. As Joni Mitchell wrote and sang “maybe it’s the time of year, and maybe it’s the time of man”.

    paola: Thank you. It gives me joy when others take pleasure from my service.

  23. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    Huffy, be, Lyd and CaraSusanetta: Thank you all so much. It would be a pleasure to share cheesecake, Bailey’s or a dance with any of you.

    a_priori: Thank you for your question. The lunar nodes are hypothetical points (or calculated) points, first off. They are the two places where the Moon’s orbit around Earth intersects with Earth’s orbit around the Sun, whether the Moon is there or not. They move. The motion of the nodes is of more than one kind because the Moon’s motion is of more than one kind. The nodes progress in an orbital manner, preponderantly retrograde over time, but sometimes direct, through the signs in a process that takes nearly two decades. There is also the motion that derives from and emulates the Moon’s “wobble”. The wobble comes from the fact that it is more than just Earth’s gravity that “tugs” on the Moon, there is also the gravity of the Sun and (to a much lesser extent) the gravity of planets. Suffice to say that the Moon’s orbit is not a smooth curve, as it orbits Earth it constantly approaches and retreats as though on an elastic cord. Therefore, any calculated or hypothetical value regarding the Moon’s orbit (nodes, apogee, perigee, etc.) must in fact be two values. The “true” or “osculating” value at any moment, and the averaged-out “mean” value calculated as if the Moon’s orbit were a smooth curve. For some kinds of astrology (like the snapshot of a natal chart) the true node is preferable. For other kinds of astrology, looking at a short, continuous period of time especially, the mean is close enough. The difference is normally minimal (a degree or two) and not a big deal in regards to aspects, which usually have an orb of tolerance less than the difference between mean and true. In other words, most of the time, the difference between true and mean is a wrinkle, not a big deal. Please, does that work for you?

  24. paola paola says:

    Yes, as others said, there is something to this article, as if you wrote it with pen and ink in a beautiful and creative calligraphy, then you put the pen down – closing a circle – with satisfaction.
    Thank you.

  25. P. Sophia P. Sophia says:

    Hello Len,

    I am new here to PW, but now have had the privilege to read several of your and EF’s articles and just wanted to say thank you all for sharing your talent and gifts! I hope they don’t start charging for this good stuff!! This again is an amazing interpretation and, as Huffy beautifully commented offers such a tangible visage.

    Interestingly enough just commented to one of the blogs yesterday about our spiritual inter- connectedness and seems like recently ‘speeded-up’ consciousness, evolving feelings of one. Maybe partially due to these cosmic coordinates you describe…?

    I will keep in mind, and now more intently aware this weekend of where those lines intersect and cross. It is a daily practice indeed, the dedication and appreciation to moment. Thank you for your knowledge and perspective which so beautifully illustrates and reminds me…

  26. CaraSusanetta CaraSusanetta says:

    Yeah, what they said. I had NO trouble following you on this one…the pacing was perfect, as was that balance struck between technical and practical. I loved that slowdancing metaphor…perfect.

  27. a_priori a_priori says:

    Hi Len!

    Since this astrological moment seems especially node-worthy, ahem, would you elucidate any correlation, if there is one, between mean and true nodes – – as relates to south and north? Serennu uses the former (mean and true) nodalities. My mean node = 1 Taurus 51′ 48″ rx.

    Thanks in advance for your help, Sir!

  28. Lyd says:

    Len, I had the intention, after reading and re-reading, to offer up my appreciation and let you know of the little ‘glow’ spell you cast on my world…but, it appears Huffy and Be have beat me to it, so articulately and lovingly, I might add. I’m with them, on every word. And if you were here where my feet are, you’d be offered cheesecake and Bailey’s, because that’s just how rich you are.

    Thanks again and ever so.

  29. Lizzy Huffy says:

    And as always – you add to the beauty of Len’s blogs, dear Be. “Balancing stuff…calmness of thinking”. Yes. Perhaps for the first time in my life my brain is understanding what it means to be calm, by observing just how calm it ‘aint. And this, from an experienced meditator, whose ‘brain’ has always been hyper, even in deep meditation, when it seemed to have reached a state of deep tranquillity. I say brain rather than mind, because it’s more organic.

  30. bkoehler says:

    You’re right Huffy, isn’t he great? And this balancing stuff. . . not a moment too soon is it? Having been under the influence of Uranus (transiting and natal) for a while now, I will welcome the calmness of thinking via Mercury’s double-down grounding via Saturn in perfectly balanced Libra. You are such a good teacher too Len; thanks for making those parallels and contra-parallels understandable. Too often (for me anyway) astrology gets so high-falutin’ with the explanations of terms I just want to doze off. You may have noticed I prefer the mythological approach to astrology and so very much appreciate someone who can de-mystify the technical side. You do this of course, but you make it seem effortless. Yes, Huffy, painless as a slow dancing.

  31. Lizzy Huffy says:

    Oh Len – this is just wonderful, one of your best yet (for me) – like a slow dance between couples. I always get these lovely images when I read your writing. Thank you.

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