Mercury, stationing direct, and…

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury stations direct in Taurus on Tuesday or overnight Tuesday to Wednesday in most time zones in our readership. This retrograde began April 18. Two days later, a BP/Transocean/Mitsubishi oil platform exploded, creating a high-pressure undersea oil gusher which is slowly turning the Gulf of Mexico black. There was a failed terrorism attempt in Times Square. A credit crisis has been spreading throughout Europe, and we’ve learned that Goldman Sachss helped engineer the recession.

Carribean Blue Angelfish, Gulf of Mexico, a delicate, magnificent aquatic environment. Photo by Underwater Photos.

If we finally wake up as a result of these incidents, it may be the first time in history. Taurus is about values, and possessions (and thus related to greed), which seems to be one of those things humanity clings to as a precious thing in itself. To get out of this psychological mess will require a level of intimacy and cooperation to a depth and scale that is indeed unusual on our planet, though I have no doubt that it’s possible.

It’s just that we get so stuck in expecting things to be the way they were yesterday that we can barely envision them another way. That’s a process of waking up; of noticing our unconscious patterns; of making adjustments first to our thinking and then to our conduct. Mercury retrograde in Taurus seems to be an investigation of our seemingly intractable thought processes; of the dysfunctional values in which we hunker down and camp out. The thing about values is that they get stronger with exercise. The more we use the values we want to have and know we’re capable of, the more access we’ll have to them.

Mercury’s station-direct is Tuesday, May 11 at 3:26 pm PDT (California), 6:26 pm EDT (New York) and 11:26 pm BST/GMD (London). Though this doesn’t happen for nearly a week, that’s good timing to prepare for the shift in energy. It’s possible to feel this happening; astrology is not all about charts and concepts, though they can help (they can also do a fine job getting in the way). Experience is the best teacher with Mercury retrograde, and we have plenty of it. If you’re 50 years old you’ve been through something like this about 150 times. It’s about time we got the hang of it.

When Mercury is stationing in either direction, it helps to tread lightly on the Earth, on your life and on your relationships, and let the processes of change and rearrangement sort themselves out. Our main role is to remain alert and make conscious choices rather than acting on impulse.

Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Nature’s Portaits.

You may have to consciously muster up patience, as an act of will. You may notice that you’re getting antsy that something is not being acknowledged. The shifting emphasis or energy when Mercury changes directions can help you bring things to the surface; it’s one of those aspects about how we actually can change our minds.

What I’ve noticed is that many who know about the Mercury retrograde effect don’t take that extra step of ‘believing in it’ enough to do what they need to do. It’s like part of the effect is to tempt us to deny the effect. You know it’s there and you grant yourself an exemption. That’s the thing about awareness: we have it so we can use it to take action.

There’s a process of reversal at work. A planet close to us, and critical in our lives, will appear to reverse directions. This simple metaphor looked at one way, is a visual illusion as seen from Earth. Seen another way it’s also about relative movement and in the reality-mirage-maya of astrology, it counts. Think of Mercury retrograde as a massive magnet passing between the Earth and the Sun. We measure its movement in longitude. During the retrograde the longitude decreases in number; at the moment of the station/direct, in a flash, the longitude begins to increase. That is a critical moment. One of my favorite effects of Mercury stationing, either retrograde or direct, is the feeling of the truth coming out. It’s a moment of transparency, and what lacks integrity seems to betray itself when this happens.

For about two days on either side is something that’s come to be known as the Mercury storm — when Mercury is moving the slowest, and preparing to turn around. This is a moment of potential and a touch of danger; back up your disk drives outside this window, if you can, and if you can’t be especially careful. Keep duplicates. Call people and make sure they got your email before you get pissed off that they didn’t answer. Pause and allow projects to follow their current inertia — better not to push or pull; finesse a bit if you must, but most things can wait a few days.

The reason this is an ill-advised time to sign contracts is because something is about to reverse; and the idea of a contract is to fulfill your intention. Most things you buy during this time, you’re unlikely to really need. Save your money. This is easy astrology to work with, in the scheme of things. If you ‘absolutely must’ do something, keep Plan B handy. That insinuates planning, at all, though plans have a reduced likelihood of going, you know, as planned.

Chevron’s Jack #2 offshore oil platform, similar to this rig, discovered oil some 27,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, nearly 200 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The press lauded it as the answer to America’s energy needs, but the reality is that it will be only a ‘blip’ in the context of the nation’s energy demand. Still, drilling in the Gulf remains an obsession. For some ridiculous energy statistics, see this Wikipedia page.

One interesting feature of this Mercury event is that it’s within one degree of where Chiron was discovered. Chiron was first sighted at 3+ Taurus and on Sunday Mercury stations at 2+ Taurus. So it’s making prolonged contact with the discovery degree, which puts us into direct mental contact with the idea and the reality of Chiron.

We’ve been getting some extra focus on this, actually — because Chiron is in the midst of a sign change into Pisces. As mentioned previously, we get a warm-up between April 20 and July 20, and then Chiron re-enters Pisces in February 2011 to stay for about eight years. This is one of many outer-planet sign changes that tell us we’re heading into a new reality — with all the challenges, adventures and privileges thereof. This happens from time to time — many slow planets changing signs at once. In the current setup, many of them are making aspects to one another.

We know that Pluto has recently moved from Sagittarius to Capricorn (2007-2009), putting incredible stress on world infrastructure. I’ve said a lot about Chiron ingressing Pisces (2010-2011). Others include:

Saturn changing signs from Virgo to Libra (2009-2010). It makes a square to Pluto, opposes Uranus for the 5th and final time and is opposed by Jupiter.

Uranus changing signs from Pisces to Aries (2010-2011). It’s being opposed by Saturn, conjoined by Jupiter, and is about to make a square to Pluto (technically beginning in 2012, but in effect now). That square will have effects through 2020 and is one of the peak astrological events of our lifetimes.

Jupiter changing signs from Pisces to Aries (2010), making a conjunction to Uranus on the Aries Point, a square to Pluto and an opposition to Saturn. The Jupiter-Saturn opposition is interesting — Marc Edmund Jones described it as living two lifetimes in one.

Neptune is changing signs from Aquarius to Pisces (2011-2012), close on the heels of Chiron. That is a chart to see — here is what the alignment looks like when Neptune dips into Pisces for the first time, on April 4, 2011.

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto together, create a T-square in alignment with the Aries Point — and the result is a lot of change, in a concentrated phase of time, of which we are now getting caught in the current. Meanwhile there are many aspects between recently-discovered outer planets that we haven’t covered — including Varuna square Eris, which sums up the energy of our moment in history: massive, incomprehensible changes behind the scenes.

Neptune’s first ingress into Pisces, on April 4, 2011. Neptune is represented by the blue trident on top of the chart. Chiron has arrived two months earlier. Next door in Aries, there’s a precise Mars/Uranus conjunction at the time, aligned with the Black Moon Lilith (all three on the Aries Point), with five other planets in Aries. Mandatory integrity indeed.

The question we face as individuals is whether to take this passively or to participate actively in whatever these aspects represent. Yet while we may view it as a choice, we will have to respond; we are responding, one way or another. The question is how, and what intention we bring to the choices we make. One reader described this outer planet setup to me as being about mandatory integrity.

It’s interesting how Neptune is mixed up in the current setup: at 28+ Aquarius, aspecting Uranus and Saturn (semi-sextile and quincunx, both known as ‘inconjunct’ aspects). Perhaps this represents the lies we tell ourselves, or that we believe when we’re told. After all, it’s convenient. Neptune in Aquarius may represent the sum total of all we think we’re denying. Chiron, now making its brief visit to Pisces, is running vanguard for Neptune, as if checking out the territory and inviting us to pay attention. Simply put, the great risk of anything involving Pisces and Neptune is a lapse of attention, or the intentional denial of the truth. Fortunately Chiron works the opposite way, compelling us to pay attention — but it can seem really, really inconvenient at the time.

Is it really that expensive? It would help if we notice that the alternative is a lot worse — and that we have an option. Let’s get used to the idea that we have a lot of changes to make, and that we can create this into the planetary adventure of our lifetimes.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

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