From Dreams to Reality: Mercury Square Neptune

Dear Friend and Reader:

We all have that one area of our lives where we can’t seem to bridge our idealized version of things with actual reality. You know: like maybe you persistently believe you’ll be able to stretch time to fit all the things you want to do in a day, despite your unbroken track record of never doing so; or you repeatedly overlook potential partners’ honesty about themselves, instead concocting a dream-version of the person — and then feel shocked when they stay true to their flaws.

Photo by Amanda Painter.

Maybe you always fall for the deal that seems too good to be true. Or, it continually surprises you when the comments you toss off without thinking on Facebook actually upset people who don’t understand “what you really meant.”

Those are just a few examples of the sort of thinking and situations you’ll want to beware of as we head into the weekend. What’s your unique twist on the theme? Write it down on a sticky note now and put it on your bathroom mirror so you don’t forget. Mercury and Neptune are coming to town, by way of Gemini and Pisces, and there’s a good chance all that air and water could fog up the mirror — i.e., your perception.

Mercury is currently slowing down in early Gemini, having entered the pre-retrograde shadow (or echo) phase earlier this week. If you noticed that a few telltale things such as your computer or communication went mildly wonky on Monday, that was your heads up: Mercury stations retrograde May 18 (or 19, depending on time zone).

This means that already the realms of thinking, communicating and technology (and commerce) aren’t quite up to the usual standards of agility and acuity Mercury in Gemini might normally represent. Mercury square Neptune, which is exact at 12:08 pm EDT / 16:08 UTC May 9 (but is well in effect now), could exacerbate things.

On a positive note, Mercury square Neptune (especially with Pisces involved) could be very useful for furthering any spiritual or mystical pursuits. If you’re a creative type, this aspect could really help you to imagine two (or more) ways your vision could take shape (Gemini and Pisces are both signs marked by duality).

Photo by Amanda Painter; free-standing stained glass angel and window panels by Laura Fuller.

The caveat is that you’ll still need to anchor yourself in tangible, real-world facts as you go. Fantasies and daydreams are a perfectly benign way to enjoy this aspect — as long as you stay aware of their ‘not real’ status. For the kinds of dreams you could actually build your life on, you need at least one foot (preferably both) on the ground to balance your mind’s flight.

Consider, for a moment, this Wednesday’s announcement by New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio about his initiative to significantly beef up mental health resources in the city. As part of the plan, more than $54 million would be added to mental health programs this fiscal year (on top of current funding) — increasing to $78 million in following years.

That amount would fund such things as: mental health clinics in more than 80 schools; a victims’ advocate in every police precinct; social workers to arrange psychological care for thousands of families in homeless shelters; art-therapy sessions for youth in the city’s Rikers Island jail complex; and 50 new drug-abuse prevention counselors in 70 troubled schools currently without one.

Some might say this is a pipe dream; others, looking at the desperate need for better mental health programs for underserved populations — and funding — know it is overdue, and necessary in order to have a fully functioning society. The plan’s announcement happens to coincide with Mercury applying to square Neptune: a spending plan (Gemini) that appeals to the greater humanitarian ideals (Pisces) of New York’s citizens.

How anchored in reality is it? At the very least, it is clearly contextualized in the realities of the city’s needs. How realistic is it to think it can be done? That remains to be seen: the mental health initiative is part of a budget that is heading into negotiations with the City Council; a final budget is due by the end of June.

That timing is noteworthy because it roughly corresponds to the Mercury retrograde cycle we’ve just begun. Mercury entered its opening echo (shadow) phase this past Monday; it stations retrograde May 18-19; it stations direct June 11; and finally, it leaves its closing echo or shadow phase on June 27.

This means that we’re now in the section of Gemini that Mercury will cover three times. It’s making its first pass now; the second time, it will come through these current degrees of Gemini in retrograde motion; the third time, it will be in direct motion again. This sets up a pattern of preview/review/overview. Or, to put it another way, you can begin now to note themes coming to the forefront of your awareness, then track what insights emerge around them during the retrograde, and finally put it all together to apply what you’ve learned.

Photo by Amanda Painter.

The echo/retrograde/echo process also means that Saturday’s Mercury-Neptune square is the first of three such exact squares between now and late June. The other two Mercury-Neptune squares will be May 29 and June 23.

For any New York residents, I’d be curious to see if and how de Blasio’s negotiations with the City Council follow the pattern. Will the Council members initially try to reduce the mental health spending and programs — that is, walk it backwards — claiming it to be divorced from the realities of the municipal budget and existing infrastructure? By the third square, will the other side of the story — one of necessity and the people’s willingness to put their money where their mouths are — triumph in the form of the program’s implementation?

Time will tell. If de Blasio and his administration (including his wife, Chirlane McCray, whose signature issue is mental health) have done their homework and based their numbers and vision in reality, this will be an initiative to watch. If, on the other hand, crucial details have been omitted or spun in the unveiling of this plan, it will likely come back to bite them in their collective tuchus.

This holds true for your own personal life, too: watch out for any inclinations to withhold details or the full picture of a situation from anybody (this includes withholding from yourself, i.e., denial). Secrets, deceptions and distortions of the truth are not going to serve you (or the other person) well. It might seem like the ‘kind’ thing in the short-run, but what goes around comes around when it comes to evasiveness. The last thing you want is to end up on the receiving end of delayed repercussions from your attempts to spin the truth now. And keep your antennae tuned for anyone else’s ‘almost honesty’.

Speaking of words: unintentionally confusing communication is very possible through the weekend, so take your time to formulate your thoughts. It’s a simple step that’s easy to overlook (and it’s good practice for when Mercury retrogrades), but one that can save you and those you interact with tremendous energy in the long run.

Our dreams guide us in shaping our life’s path, and rightfully so; but we still need to read the trail signs, check our compass and understand how the map correlates to what we encounter as we walk. That’s no reason to be afraid to hit the trail, it’s just a reason to stay alert — and honest with ourselves.

Yours & truly,

Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, May 7, 2015 #1048 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — For maximum benefit, focus your life close to where you live, sticking to your neighborhood and your home over the next few days. What is familiar is what will be both nourishing and helpful. What’s more significant is that you be available to sort out the facts in a situation that may require clarification — and direct knowledge of your local environment. If you do what you can now to resolve a small matter, you will prevent it from becoming a larger one. While it’s your inclination to trust and to take everyone at face value, your current scenario calls for careful fact checking and analysis. It’s essential that you not be stuck in any one opinion or point of view; flexibility is your best friend right now. And while you must be discerning and cautious, it’s important that you not give the idea that you’re biased for or against any one side right now. Preserve your objectivity, or at least the appearance of objectivity.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Your current aspects are all about writing. This comes in several flavors. One is writing to express the beauty that you see and feel. This might be expressing yourself to another person, or using words for the sake of creating art. You could count either of these as love letters to existence. But there’s something deeper, which will be in effect over the next couple of months, which is writing to understand yourself. There’s no human who does not exist within their own contradictions; that’s the nature of existence on our planet, or part of its nature anyway. Don’t let this bother you. Rather, use any seeming inner polarity or opposition like a battery that is providing you with energy. Count this time in your life as an opportunity to conduct a sincere personal inventory, which includes your many excellent ideas. Take things in layers. Proceed slowly and gently. Listen to your own words.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may have this odd sense of forgetting who you are, then remembering, then forgetting again. But there’s one sure way to know, which is to observe your actions. Notice the choices that you make. Feel your motives at work, and watch what they lead you to do. You are confused if you forget what a kind person you are, and paying attention to your own conduct will help you remember. I would ask, though, about the source of any potential doubts. You have known certain things about your family all your life, though in recent years you’ve started to make new discoveries; well, if you can call them new. It’s more like you’ve received confirmation of what you long suspected; of what was previously impossible to know for sure. Now the question is what you’re going to do with that information. Actually you don’t need to do much, except for make future decisions based on actual self-knowledge rather than the lies that others told you about yourself.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Venus enters your sign Thursday night, right here in the season of Venus — close to Beltane with the Sun in Taurus. This is a personalized message of blessing for you. That might come in the form of some unusual abundance, affection or relief from worry. Just remember, there’s always something to fret over. There’s always something that might go wrong, even though it usually does not. What you need the very most now are positive mental habits. Keep your mind clear of bogs, be they of your own making or due to the infiltration of others. Therefore, be cautious what you take on board, that others say to you or write to you. You are sensitive — that is one of your main assets, but you need a thicker skin. As for your own thoughts, it’s vital that you have some dependable reality checkpoints now. Those would come in the form of people you absolutely trust to give you feedback about whether what you’re thinking, feeling or planning is realistic.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You’re protected by a guardian angel and a whole lot more. What you need to do is receive your protection. One form this may take is an intuitive hint that you need to pause before making a decision. You may be inclined to lean on facts and certain other rational modes of thinking; it’s your body that will reveal the most information to you, and after that, your emotional state. If there is a conflict between the two, I suggest you be more confident of your body and your feelings than your ideas or concepts. Notice any discrepancies. I suggest you pay attention to any way in which you feel swayed by public opinion, however you define the public. It might be your friends, it might be your colleagues, or who knows, it might be the actual public. Right now it would be much better for you to set trends rather than follow them; to set opinion rather than be subject to it.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You seem to be in a position where you have to take leadership, though you might not feel like you’re getting any traction. Remember that in the world there are two kinds of authority — formal and informal. Formal power is the headmaster of a school. Informal power is a student who understands how to win people over and make things happen, having nothing to do with any official line of authority. Your charts suggest you may be in a dilemma that would be described well by these two possibilities. The way to accomplish what you want to accomplish is to win hearts and minds. You do that by socializing and fraternizing with people, though not for recreational purposes. This is for your mission, for your project. Work the room, speak to people one by one, address them by name, and get them on board with what you are planning. Offer your help with what they might need. There’s a special kind of sharing involved: people are your assets, and more significantly, you are theirs.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You deserve to be recognized for what you do. Please never, ever doubt that. I know how easy it is to forget or deny your own accomplishments. It does not help that many celebrities and media figures who pull in seven figures are famous for absolutely nothing. This waters down the whole concept of recognition. You must evaluate yourself on another scale. Begin by giving yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished. In particular, focus on the ways in which you’ve taken leadership in your own life. Look back a few years and note the changes that you’ve made, particularly the ones you thought were impossible. This proves that you’re made of tougher stuff than you may think. Nobody should confuse your friendly exterior and elegant style with any kind of frailty — especially yourself. Your combination of style and grit will get you places, though for now the thing to do is count your victories.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You may need to make some difficult decisions, but they only seem difficult because you’re hesitating. Every corner of your chart is shouting the same message: Get clear. Focus your mind. Take action. Focus your words. There’s nothing about you that’s inherently passive, though it’s possible for you to pretend. But we might ask why. Focus, commitment and action all imply vulnerability. You might describe that as feeling. Their opposite force in the universe is apathy, which is an interesting word: it means not feeling. If you want to make progress, dare yourself to feel and to take action as a result. There are far greater risks in your mind than there are in reality, and the truth is that the most serious risk you face is from hesitating or refusing to direct your energy when you know that is precisely what you need to do. Remember, when you take action, that will change you. If you want results, be willing to adapt, to grow, to change.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Some situation seems to be calling for urgent focus on finances. There seems to be plenty of determination, intelligence and money to go around. So why are you hesitating? Does it involve some lack of faith or confidence in yourself? It would seem that way. I suggest you not count yourself out, or deem yourself incapable, of anything — particularly before you’ve tried. I would also suggest skipping the part about how nobody has decreed that you’re qualified to do what you need to do. That is something that you must tell yourself; yours is the only permission you need to do anything, or to be anything. You may have the idea that someone else needs to be committed to the cause before you can be. That would count as one more mental obstacle to something you can in fact do yourself, and do brilliantly. Notice whenever you’re hesitating, for whatever reason, and start making decisions. Then, click a stopwatch and take action in under one minute.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You may feel like the harder you try, the less you’re getting done. It would help if you focused your energy differently. You’re likely to be thinking in terms of the number of hours you put into something rather than the quality of your ideas. You may be thinking of how much effort you apply rather than the results that you get. In any mature endeavor, all that counts are the results. Yet the results are not subject to your measure alone; there must be some idea of what is necessary for the whole system. Your thinking seems to be isolated, as if you’re holding onto certain misunderstandings that could be easily cleared up by communicating directly with the people around you. It’s true that by one measure, your astrology describes you containing your feelings and your thoughts, as if you’re alone. You are not alone, and more than that, you need the people around you and they need you.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Take some time out for R and R this weekend — the real thing. It will help you beyond measure right now. Think of it this way. There’s an approach that says every hour of sleep you get before midnight counts for two hours after midnight. Right now, every day of rest and reprieve from the daily grind that you get counts for several days under other circumstances. Going into next week, the same counts for slowing down, ending your work days earlier, and getting into a place where you can actually disconnect and relax. This may or may not be your usual style, though it’s vital to admit that we are all working way too hard. This is especially ironic considering we’re surrounded by allegedly labor saving devices. You still need contact with the outer world, but you can safely afford to put a few gadgets in the freezer for a while.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Mercury square Neptune is not exactly doing wonders for your clarity in relationships, though in service of resolving that, I suggest you listen more than you speak. If you find yourself speaking because you feel like you’re not being heard, start asking questions. Find out what people know and what they don’t know. Get them on the record. Find out what they’re doing and what they’re not doing. You need to know more than you currently do in order to guide your life the way that you must. I would remind you that the people around you know more than enough. There’s just this odd thing that happens when strong people exert their leadership — and you would count, especially since Saturn entered Sagittarius late last year — that others feel like they can slack off. You can avoid that by involving people in clear agreements that they state out loud, face to face or on the telephone. Email is not enough. Text messages don’t count at all.

Leave a Comment