Mercury Retrograde in Taurus: The Search for Values

Dear Friend and Reader:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, The Onion dropped a spoof newscast into the discussion. The headline: “No-Values Voters Looking to Support Most Evil Candidate.”

No-values voters demand meaner and meaner candidates. Sadly, this is one of those jokes that’s funny because it’s true.

For no-values voters, neither Barack Obama nor John McCain was acceptable to citizens “who believe in a complete lack of morals and are committed to carrying out unspeakable acts of evil.”

In the video, ordinary voters spoke up about their needs. “The tenor of the political debate seems focused on helping people and making positive change, and that’s very alienating for people like us,” said John Gerrity, a fictional no-values voter.

“We want to be able to look at a candidate and truly believe they have no soul,” said another.

The spokesman for a Political Action Committee called Citizens for a Bleaker America said, “We don’t want just pandering. We want the streets to run red with rivers of blood.”

Now, eight years later, that joke has come true. The TEA Party, fabricated by the media out of no cloth at all, has prevailed to the point where the best the Republicans have to offer are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who are taking the No-Values party line.

The TEA Party, for its part, no longer seems to exist as a figment of TV or the Internet, but its no-values message has taken root, and is thriving, with all the wisdom of “Keep the Government’s Hands Off of My Medicaid” slogans spoken by those who decry socialism.

This was a joke during the 2008 campaign. Eight years later, it looks like something that might actually happen. Image from The Onion.

People are angry; even Armani-clad, Bombay Sapphire martini-swilling pundits seem to get that. The citizens are responding positively to messages about displacing 16 million Mexican immigrants, building a wall and banning Muslims from entering the country.

In state after state, a candidate who has suggested he would still be elected even if he shot an innocent person on a New York street keeps winning the Republican primary. (When I hear this kind of thing, I think of the scandal caused when Bert Lance, a budget director under Pres. Carter, once bounced a check — and people were outraged. That was the least of his crimes.)

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has a long résumé of unsavory accomplishments, including her substantial bona fides as both warmonger and friend to banksters. There is substantial distrust of her among younger, progressive voters, who are flocking to Bernie Sanders. For his part, Sanders is being attacked by no-values voters for being too nice; that is, for wanting to take care of people.

Then I keep hearing that many Sanders supporters are so fed up with Clinton that if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, they would vote for Trump in a general election. If that is true, so much for all those altruistic values.

The No-Values platform is retrograde and regressive. Politics has been moving backward for a long time. Image from The Onion.

Here’s my question: how much of this is about you? It’s easy to look out at all those weirdos and wonder how the heck they got that way (theorizing that they all must have been dropped on their heads).

The question I would ask is, how do you manage your personal values? And perhaps a more difficult question, how do you manage the place where your values connect to those of the people in your life, and your wider connection to society?

How consistent are you between the things you hold true, and how you actually conduct yourself? For example, if you believe in buying local, how much do you do it? If you believe in supporting artists, how do you express that?

Mercury and Mars are Retrograde

Mercury and Mars are now retrograde, at different ends of the zodiac. As of Thursday, Mercury is retrograde in Taurus. This is on the distinctly personal side of the zodiac, where personal interests tend to prevail.

Or so we think. At least we can say that where Taurus is concerned, necessity seems rooted in the most private and individual needs. Yet the values, attitudes and choices of individuals add up to something much larger.

No-values voters are ordinary folk. Image from the Onion.

The term ‘values’ is sometimes difficult to understand. ‘Value’ is an old word in English, dating back about 700 years, starting off meaning “price equal to the intrinsic worth of a thing.”

A century later, it meant “degree to which something is useful or estimable,” which originated from the same word in Old French, there meaning “worth, price, moral worth; standing, reputation.” Its Latin root is the same as valiant — to be strong.

That’s a lot of meaning. I think that values are best expressed as priorities, which are in turn expressed by actions. A Course in Miracles points out that the best indicator of what you believe is what you do. You might call a belief a priority or a value. So to question values is really to question belief and action.

Mercury, the patron of merchants (note the similarity in the words), relates to the price of things, and as a culture we are obsessed by this. People love a bargain, without wondering who actually pays the cost. Others will do anything to get something for free, never considering who is paying for this thing they get. There is a cold and impersonal feeling associated with money, though it’s even chillier and less personal when it comes to getting things for free.

Our obsession with price might extend to concern about cost. For example, what is the real cost of a $3.99 Big Mac, when you factor in the carbon footprint, the cost of water used in beef production, the environmental impact of the packaging, federal beef subsidies given to farmers, public assistance paid to fast food workers, and so on? I’ve seen estimates as high as $40.

There is an element of truth to this, given where the U.S. government actually spends its money. Image from The Onion.

Notably, ThinkProgress recently reported that if the minimum wage went up to $15 an hour, the cost of a Big Mac would go up by just 17 cents.

Mercury retrograde in Taurus is a perfect image of revaluing, or what you might think of as re-evaluation. This is personal.

People have strange attachments to money; many are at once repelled and obsessed by it. For many people, money is the only measure of their power. That can have toxic consequences whether over-emphasized or ignored.

If you’re a therapist or have done serious work with one, you know that when the money conversation comes up, you’ve entered rich territory. It’s not common sense that initially prevails, but rather a kind of raw emotion.

To get past that impacted, often infected layer of pent-up feeling, you pass through many other layers, including relationships with parents, whether or not you feel entitled to be fed, and the price for which you’re willing to violate your ethics. This can relate to the price you place on sex, whether you’re the buyer or the seller.

Mercury retrograde in Taurus seems like a discussion that everyone needs to have with themselves. Be aware that these things can add up to something huge. At the middle of this Mercury retrograde, there is a New Moon at the center of Taurus, close to Mercury. That rings one of the more esoteric bells of the Aries Point, where the personal becomes collective. The last time there was a New Moon at the center of Taurus, the “subprime mortgage crisis” revealed itself to be a global economic meltdown.

Mars Retrograde, Heading for Scorpio

Mars is also retrograde. It’s now in Sagittarius, which illustrates where personal belief (illustrated by Mars) intersects with collective belief (illustrated by Sagittarius).

This could be a real organization. Image from The Onion.

Mars, however, is heading for Scorpio. If Taurus is the sign of individual values and resources, Scorpio (opposite Taurus) is the sign of shared values. The origin of this is sexual; Scorpio is the realm where DNA is shared, which you might think of as the ultimate sharing of resources.

The collective realm of Scorpio (where these agreements about shared resources and values are made, or happen biologically) seems to operate so far below the level of consciousness that it runs on instinct, which we then scatter and weaken with things like hormone injections and deodorant. Masking body odor tends to lead people into inappropriate choices of partners. I don’t have that study but here is an article on why the sense of smell is so essential when it comes to choosing lovers.

Scorpio has plenty to do with money, since most money comes through marriage partners or inheritance rather than through earning, scrimping and saving. And that realm of marriage and death — so rarely seen for what it is — has many taboos and controversies rooted in it.

We are not there yet. Mercury will be retrograde until May 22, and then five days later, Mars enters Scorpio in retrograde motion. So think of Mercury retrograde as a three-week phase where you can gain some clarity about what is true for you, what is important, and what you value the most.

Then you get to take that information into a conversation with someone else, and with any luck, learn something that makes your life better.


Short Monthly Horoscope for May 2016, #1098 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Any financial plans you make would best be long-term. You have some excellent ideas and opportunities, though you need to do more due diligence. Information and timing are marks of the truly successful person. There are likely to be ideas far beyond what you are currently thinking, if you can project yourself a few years into the future. What I suggest you remember is that you have what you need. Not only are the basics covered, you’re unusually resourceful. For those who aspire to great success, it’s good to remember that there’s such a thing as enough.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You are the person who decides when you’re ready to make any decision you want to make. It’s also easy to second- and third-guess yourself. You need to know when your intuition is speaking and when you’re just not feeling confident. In such a moment, it’s best to be patient, and to make a point of being helpful to others. Offering your skills and ideas to people you care about could be the thing that provides you with experiences you need to get clarity. Mercury moves in your favor on the 22nd, by which time you will have the missing information you seek.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You have deep insight into yourself at the moment, though you may be wondering what someone else wants. Is this person interested, or not? Are they offering you something, or expecting something from you? The best idea would be to ask openly: politely, willing to hear any answer. Yet it’s also important to give people a chance to make up their mind, and to change their mind. This is the mark of maturity: remembering that people are free, and what they are most free to do is choose. Merely admitting this could quell much of the personal drama in the world.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Most people you know love and adore you, and that’s all you need. It’s easy to take one negative opinion as the one that matters most, though I assure that it’s not. When you’re open about your ideas, you can expect a few mixed reviews — the happy artist, entrepreneur or visionary welcomes them. Though your sign is represented by a crab, you’re not really the thick-skinned type. The graciousness and generosity that people are offering you would be the envy of many. Take all opinions on board long enough to consider them. You will learn from all of them.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — This month looks like the tipping point in a professional matter that’s been evolving for a while. Consider every conversation you have as some form of a lucky break. If you feel that someone is fortunate to meet you, ask yourself why exactly that is — and know the specifics. Success implies responsibility. You might earn more, and then you might also have to work longer hours and take worries off the minds of your bosses. Be grateful for that. When someone trusts you enough to grant you authority of any kind, take it as a blessing and work twice as diligently.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — The opportunity you get may not be exactly what you want, but it could be pretty darned close. Notice that the career steps you take are a journey and not a destination. Then you’ll see that the progress you need to make in the future is as important as the progress already made. Anything that offers you most of what you want is a good thing. You are indeed blessed, and you’re moving in the right direction. If your mantra is ‘there’s no such thing as perfection’, it’ll be easier to see just how close you are. Time is on your side.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Now is the time to have your relationship review conversation. Set aside expectations and come from a place of how much you value someone you care about. Commitment is one thing, but honoring someone’s presence in your life, as demonstrated with genuine appreciation, is what you’re looking for. Some topics may require a conversation that extends over a few weeks. Be patient and work your way to the heart of the matter. Any subject involving money needs to be handled in a genuinely ethical way. Toss out gender roles — everyone must do their bit.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You may not feel you have much to offer, though I would propose that the opposite is true. Like many things in life, it’s worth testing logic the reverse of what the world asserts. Generosity will teach you how much you have. Try this and see. Clinging only amplifies the feeling of not having. But there is something else: if you spend money only on what you truly value, you will see the true value of money. Every time you buy something, ask yourself questions that would have made our grandparents proud: Do I really need this? Do I even want it?

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Yours is the sign that wants to fly toward the air like an arrow with one destination. But now both Mars and Saturn are moving backwards through your sign, which is compelling you to stop, rethink, reconsider and revise many of your life plans. You might feel like your life is one long episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Yet this is the time for careful review of what you want. The planets are conspiring to remind you that desire plus discipline is the winning formula for life. Be patient and work that equation daily, and you will be unstoppable.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — We live in an age of anxiety. It really is true, there’s so much that can go wrong. But of all the possibilities, consider how much goes right. The current story of your charts right now is that of understanding and addressing fear. We might first ask whether this is the emotion you need to run on, considering that there is a much better possibility. When you encounter a fear over which you have no control, the best thing to do is give it up to a higher power. This is a pragmatic, easy and effective spiritual practice.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — The planets are suggesting that your goal is not to be popular, but to get the job done. You’re clearing the way for some important future plans. This involves fewer other people than you might think. Do your thing, go about your plans, and ignore any unsolicited reviews or feedback. You know you’re working with a decent idea, but you might not recognize just how good it is. What you’re doing has the power to change the world. For now, proceed slowly, carefully and with intention, sharing your plans with others only on a need-to-know basis.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You live on your reputation, but this has to come from the inside out. Ultimately you must bank on being known for who you really are. Current challenges related to your calling are pushing you to access all your talent, all the time. What should be amazing to you is how much you can do, and how resourceful you are. This time in your life will teach you more about your own gifts than perhaps any other so far. You have a lot to discover. As Hunter S. Thompson said, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

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