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.
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.