Dear Friend and Reader:
Mercury retrograde is not quite over. I know the station direct was June 22, which in our time frame seems like an eternity ago; it was less than three weeks.
As you probably know, while Mercury retrograde lasts about 23 days, there is a time margin on either side of that where the effect is not only still strong, but for some people more pronounced than when Mercury appears to be moving backward. This is called the shadow or echo phase. The storm phase is the few days clustered around when Mercury appears to change directions.
Here is a classic article from 2014 about this.
In the present cycle, the shadow or echo phase ends July 7, though this is complicated by an aspect: Mercury retrograde in Gemini began in a square aspect to Neptune. This is slippery. Lately it has reminded me of how oil and water don’t mix.
Mercury stationed retrograde on June 22 at about 24 degrees of Gemini, conjunct Venus, and closely square Neptune. This signifies altered perception and some real difficulty figuring out which feelings are sincere and which are not; what is of value and what is not. The whole retrograde has been in range of a square to Neptune, so in all, this will have gone on for more than two months.
The Third Mercury Square Neptune
Earlier the morning of July 6, Mercury in Gemini made its third and last square to Neptune in Pisces for this cycle. Then Mercury comes out of shadow phase on July 7. It will still be in a square to Neptune, by my reckoning, until Mercury enters Cancer on July 11. This is another image of watery Mercury, which is about confusing feeling for thinking. (However, Mercury is about to take a trip along the cardinal cross, featuring Chiron, among other factors; this will be bracing.)
Listening to common speech, you can pick this up: many people believe that someone’s reasoned conclusion or factual analysis is about how they feel, not what they have reasoned through and documented. There are days when it seems like the whole concept of thinking and reasoning is gone: not that people are not doing it, but that the capacity has vaporized, or is not counted as valid.
Right along with this, the notion of belief seems to reign supreme over knowledge, understanding, discovery, questioning, and other abilities. If you believe it, then it’s true — welcome to Mercury square Neptune. The issue goes back further than that, though we’re seeing an eruption of it now. I think this is an outcome of the digital age.
It would be nice if more people understood how dangerous it is to confuse knowing and believing. It’s easy to convince people to believe something, if you bypass their ability (or desire) to think and reason. The nice thing about belief is that it implies no responsibility. It is clear that people feel they’re not as accountable for a belief as for something they have figured out themselves.
A Very Strange Mercury Retrograde: Late Winter 2020
Lately I’ve been noticing the power of Mercury retrograde in a way I have never seen. I’ve studied these things going back to before I was an astrologer, in the days when I was an unwitting astrology student working in the newspaper office of Flo Higgins.
In prior eras, Mercury retrograde was a more personal event. Now it seems like it represents vastly collective events and mentalities. And in prior eras, one did not go to the beach with more computing power than the Viking space craft or the Apollo mission. You did not need a portable television studio and microwave transmitter. (That is an iPhone.)
By far the strangest Mercury retrograde was the one that spanned Feb. 16, 2020 to March 9, 2020. That was the one where we went from one world to another. That particular retrograde starts in mid-Pisces and ends in late Aquarius. The stock market seemed to crash 10 times.
It’s almost as if everything that happened before that Mercury retrograde is now forgotten. I understand how traumatic it was, seeing Donald Trump on TV all the time and all.
A state of national emergency was declared during the ending storm phase, on March 13, 2020, and from there, it seems like society was on autopilot. All reason was suspended. Fear became the law of the land. Where there is fear, there is not love.
I sense a kind of taboo around discussing events of January and February of 2020, where the plan was put into action. Closer to that time, there was an almost violent insistence that nothing at all was planned, and all that happened was an unfortunate accident. Yet that is a belief, not something grounded in documented facts. The documented facts all point away from the unfortunate, unforeseen accident scenario.
The Danger of Belief
It’s time to reckon with the danger of belief. In my own use of the word, it means, “Based on a thorough review of the facts, and challenging my perceptions, this is my observation.” Then, included with that is the understanding that belief is subject to review: to being torn down, reconsidered, reviewed, revised, challenged, and so on.
However, to most other people it means, “This is what I think is true,” and when you probe them, you find out that there is little to no substance behind their assertion of belief. It ends there. You could find hundreds of psychological studies on confirmation bias that attempt to account for this; what we know is that the less certain someone is, the more likely they are to fight aggressively for their belief.
In this context, belief is merely a bypass for thought. The rolling disaster here is that we live in times when people are putting excessive pressure on one another to accept as true what nobody involved in the scenario has worked through.
The United States chart has a troubling aspect, for the chart of a whole society: Mars square Neptune. I discuss this right at the top of the most recent Planet Waves FM.
To me, this demonstrates an aggressive hunger to be lied to, especially in situations where someone is cast as the enemy, or perhaps with Mars in Gemini, the frenemy.
Belief is almost always a matter of deception. However, it takes a lot of self-awareness to see that and get past it. And these days, you have to stand up to about 20 people (or so you may think) so it seems easier to go along with the charade.
But that is a matter of belief.