STARCAST for May 5 :: Mercury Retrograde, Jupiter in Aries, Mars conjunct Nessus and Vesta conjunct Saturn — a very exciting sky.
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Dear Friend and Reader:THE YEARLONG WORKBOOK for A Course in Miracles consists of lessons and review phases. It begins with 50 daily lessons, followed by a three-week review. Then the course proceeds in groups of 20 lessons, after which there is a structured 10-day review of those same ideas. Then within the 365-day cycle, similar themes come up in slightly revised form.
Humans tend to build skills by learning, repetition and re-learning. Music students learn and relearn the same thing over and over to finally get it right.
Professional musicians, especially classical, might revisit the same piece of music 10 different times working under different conductors, and each time it morphs and improves.
Every time you come back to a particular skill, idea or task, you will see it a little differently. That is called practice. Once we’re done with piano lessons, Little League or cheerleading squad, it’s easy to forget the joy of approaching and then gradually mastering a skill.
Astrology helps us see when is a good time for which activity or approach to life. As the cycles come and go, we get jiggled, jogged, or disrupted; openings appear; conditions change and the environment emphasizes certain possibilities.
If you try to leave the harbor when the tide is coming in at five knots (nautical miles per hour), your ship that might only go seven knots through the water will only make two knots progress over the ground.
To Review and Complete
Mercury retrograde is a time to review and complete, and in the process, do some preparation for what you want to happen after Mercury returns to direct motion. It is an invisible condition of the environment that we astrology fans have the ability to use in our favor.
Think of Mercury as representing tidal motion, in the world of commerce, technology and communication.
If you try to leave the harbor when the tide is coming in at five knots (nautical miles per hour), your ship that might only go seven knots through the water will only make two knots progress over the ground. You would be going against the tide, which slows you down.
If, however, you wait until the tide is going out, you can add your seven knots of propulsion to the five knots of tidal movement, and instead of going two knots you’re going 12 — six times the speed! This is the reason to work with Mercury retrograde rather than against it.
Mercury retrogrades occur for about 22 days, approximately three times a year. This is based on Mercury’s 88-day orbit of the Sun. “Retrograde” means Mercury’s path comes between the Earth and the Sun. Because everything is going around and around, each takes place in a different part of the zodiac.
When Mercury passes between the Earth and the Sun, it appears to move in reverse relative to the Earth, kind of like a faster train passing a slower train makes the slower train seems like it’s going backwards.
No matter what happened, it’s the fault of Mercury retrograde. Just 20 years ago one would fear being put on trial as a witch for uttering such words.
Common Knowledge, but What Does it Mean?
There exists all kinds of interesting mythology surrounding these phases. Now amplified by the internet, it has become a kind of common knowledge that Mercury is retrograde. But what does it mean? In recent decades (like a lot of things) it means something different to everyone.
No matter what happened, it’s the fault of Mercury retrograde. Just 20 years ago one would fear being put on trial as a witch for uttering such words. Now, bus drivers, store clerks, the service technician at the Honda dealership, and your boss can all be heard saying, “Oh, it must be Mercury retrograde.”
There is something to this: if you count “shadow” and “storm” phases (the ones close to the actual seeming backwards movement), some version of Mercury retrograde is in effect about half the time. (By the ephemeris, Mercury is actually in retrograde motion about 20% of the time.) But we live in a world cluttered with devices, nearly all of which now talk to one another, or at least to something else. There is a lot that can go wrong. So it can feel like a lot more.
I cover the basics in this old article — stuff like why you don’t want to make major purchases or commitments if you can avoid it. I’ve been observing this phenomenon since long before I was an astrologer, and my assessment is that it primarily affects the mind.
I try not to be too magical about Mercury retrogrades. They are, so far as my observational scientific mind can ascertain, a real phenomenon of nature. But from what I have observed, mostly the effects involve consciousness, and communication.
The Theme of Commitments
The best reason not to make a major commitment during this phase is that when Mercury goes direct, you’re likely to learn something you were not expecting to find out. Maybe the house you were buying seemed fine; it passed inspection; but then when Mercury goes direct, a problem emerges that was overlooked or was not included in the inspection.
One of the reasons that the retrograde phenomenon gains power is that everyone is in a hurry, and this is usually driven by competition. (For example, you ma know the feeling that you had better act fast on that house you want, or job you want, or someone else will.)
I try not to be too magical about Mercury retrogrades. They are, so far as my observational scientific mind can ascertain, a real phenomenon of nature. But from what I have observed, mostly the effects involve consciousness, and communication. There are problems of mutual understanding. When they involve mechanical or technical failures, how you handle them makes a big difference.
There will be times when you know you must take action right before or during the retrograde. You might even know you’re more likely to encounter problems as a result. Yet taking timely action may have saved your ass. Before I address the spiritual and emotional level of the astrology, I would ask: have you backed up your disk drives lately? Now would be a good time.
Near and in Mercury retrograde, I suggest pausing the commencement of all new projects. Complete what you’ve already stared, or retire the project.
On Planet Time Marches On, it’s Time to Look Back
Using astrology, we work with the theme of “a time for every purpose,” and I think of Mercury retrograde as a review phase. It’s also a completion phase. They are related. One would review to see what one has not completed.
We live on Planet Time Marches On. How many times have you said, “I don’t have time for that?” This is partiuclarly so when wanting to complete old tasks, the ones you will do when you get around to it. Mercury retrograde, which “comes around” is your “round tuit.” You are about to have one.
Near and Mercury retrograde, I suggest pausing the commencement of all new projects. Complete what you’ve already stared, or retire the project. Then along the way, get ready to do something that you can become after the retrograde is over. This facilitates something else that is special, unusual and distinctive: preparation.
But this is all based on a review of what you’ve accomplished or not during the past three months or so. Go back through your notebooks, emails, day planners and your scrap of paper collection (digital technology has not done away with these — they are the last connection to our humanity).
Look for the people you lost track of, the projects you didn’t finish, the ideas about which you didn’t give a second thought. Maybe get one of those business card sheets and organize your collection. These can really come in handy, if you’re one of those people who likes to collect cards.
Then sit in the local diner and make calls; catch up. You have a Round Tuit.
Fix broken things. Clean a closet. Untangle the wires behind your desk. Clear clutter. Now is the perfect moment.
One last — leave plenty of extra time for everything. You know those people who see that the driving time from White Plains to midtown Manhattan is 47 minutes — but they don’t plan for traffic, parking, walking to the appointment, or leaving the house late? Add an extra hour to everything.
I will have more on tonight’s STARCAST.