Mercury Stations Retrograde in Pisces

Published Feb. 16, 2020

Dear Friend and Reader:

The quality of the forthcoming week features Mercury stationing to retrograde motion on Sunday. The days surrounding the retrograde (sometimes called storm phase) can be weird, perplexing and frustrating — and very interesting.

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The old and the new: a modern-day smartphone rests on a model dating from roughly a century ago. Photo by CJ Sorg/Flickr.

The truth has a way of seeping out during the stations of Mercury, though it can be subtle. You might put together three things you’ve been thinking about for years. Someone might reveal something to you.

Then there are all the usual effects.

Thinking I lost my cell phone Thursday led to taking a series of long overdue security steps associated with it and the accounts connected to it. In the process, a satellite found my phone on an office chair (and I could not explain how it got there).

Mystical de lo Habitual

That aside, for the first time I deployed a device in outer space to find another object in the room I was sitting in. The days of miracle and wonder — the long-distance call.

There’s a touch of mystical de lo habitual to the retrograde effect of Mercury. This is true of Mercury generally, the planet of the mind and of consciousness. The retrograde calls our attention to this often taken-for-granted planet, here in the age of Pluto and Eris getting so much attention.

The retrograde of Mercury represents the unseen seeping into the everyday, offering some of the most tangible demonstrations of an effect associated with astrology.

The New York Times once did an informal study of Mercury retrograde, tracking it against service calls to Apple and delays for a big commuter railroad. By their reporting, which seemed honest to me, errors or odd incidents did not increase.

While all studies should be repeated (and this was not scientific, I am aware), I’m not surprised at these results. I consider Mercury retrograde to be a figment of consciousness, not of the train schedule.

From Pisces to Aquarius

The current retrograde begins in early Pisces on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 7:54 pm EST and ends in late Aquarius on Monday, March 9, at 11:48 pm EDT.

Pisces is slippery where Mercury is concerned, though it can also be brilliant, prolific and make unusual observations. There is a window into the invisible here, and a tap into the imagination. One key is never assuming you know too much for sure. Leave your mind in inquiry/observation mode, and let your curiosity lead you.

Water signs tend to reveal their secrets in layers. When you’re in this territory, if you want to learn something, take a laid-back approach and see what comes to you. The active piece can be expressing your curiosity — and reading. Even reading material unrelated to your chosen topic can be revealing.

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Fountain statue in Rouen, France, depicting the mythological centaur Nessus abducting Deianira, wife of Hercules. There are variations on the exact story, though the actions of all three characters are tightly intertwined, and influence each other’s eventual fates. Photo by Frédéric Bisson/Flickr.

Expose yourself to what gets your creativity going rather than to what you think will answer direct questions. You are the real source of information.

It is best to avoid belief, and notice when you’re believing something, which is a spiritual shortcut that leads nowhere. This is not easy, in a time when belief is considered everything, and with so much happening in Pisces.

Mercury Conjunct Nessus

The retrograde begins with Mercury conjunct Nessus in Pisces. This is a long-period centaur discovered in 1993 (122-year orbit, and also the first planet named at the suggestion of astrologers).

Nessus has two main properties. It carries a lot of legacy material from the genetic line (all centaurs have a tap into the ancestral realm). Yet this can also bring up material from your personal past. You might not be so eager to have it surface, though this is a good time to do so.

We do a lot of suppressing in our culture — of feelings, of personal history, of symptoms, of our true thoughts. The first place to be real is with yourself (and that is challenging enough). The second place is with someone you trust: a close friend, or a healer, so you have some context. The third is with your intimate partner.

The second main property of Nessus involves accountability. On one side, it’s the very sigil of victim consciousness. On the other, Nessus is the bold advocate of The Buck Stops Here: taking responsibility for your words, your feelings, and how you respond to the events of the past.

Let it be the past, let it all come up for healing, and then address your concerns as you become aware of them. As A Course in Miracles reminds its students many times, only the truth is true, and nothing else matters.

With love,

Planet Waves
(ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor & Publisher: Eric F. Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Associate Editor: Amy Elliott. Assistant Editor: Joshua Halinen. Client Services: Victoria Emory. Illustrator: Lanvi Nguyen. Finance: Andrew Slater. Archivist: Morgan Francis. Technical Assistants: Emily Thing, Cate Ryzhenko. Proofreading: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Music: Zeljko. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Yuko Katori, Cindy Tice Ragusa and Carol van Strum.

Planet Waves TV is Back!

With so much happening, I’m having fun doing short editions of Planet Waves TV. There are several new episodes, including one on Mercury retrograde, which I posted last night.

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Many times I have quoted Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: “We do indeed live in an age of decadence, but the dharma is not decadent. The dharma is the same as it always has been.” Despite the challenges of our time, you can focus on your purpose, which is related to the World Purpose. You can step into your calling as one who came to our planet to make a positive difference. This is integral to your healing path, your personal mission and the necessities of the world. In this new video reading, about work and relationships, we will use the astrological markers of our moment to point the way, and clear the way. You may pre-order all 12 signs here.

Daily Birthday Readings from Planet Waves

Here are the next week’s Birthday Readings; if it’s your birthday this week, many happy returns to you. Please note you can also read these entries as daily posts on our main website.

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020 (The Day of Animation)

Keep your antennae especially tuned to your inner world this year. Subtle rumblings of frustration, or vague fears and anxieties, are a signal of desires you may have shoved into a closet that’s already full. An opportunity to dig into any and all issues around self-worth, or financial security, is at hand. Something from your past holds a great deal of power, and you’re finally ready to unwrap that dynamo. It’s a process that calls for both honesty and gentleness with yourself, in equal measure.

Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 (The Day of the Battler)

You have an opportunity this year to re-think and re-work priorities, in terms of how you approach personal security. Examine both your inner and outer resources and ask yourself what’s gotten off-track, or what you’ve avoided. Effective financial management falls under this category, but don’t overlook your own talents and how you’ve employed them. It’s possible that self-worth issues have inhibited your natural creative expression somehow. This is essential review for the new phase of your life just over the horizon. There’s a tale to unravel that requires both patience, and as much objective scrutiny, as you can muster.

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 (The Day of the Complete Picture)

Your birthday chart describes a tremendous amount of activity occurring just below your everyday level of awareness. Old emotional histories or secrets from the past are highlighted, and your attitude makes all the difference in how that impacts your experience. The more willing you are to take responsibility for what you really feel — what’s been swept under the carpet — the more you’ll be able to tap the profound energy and inspiration available to you this year. Think of it as if you’re clearing out the closet before moving house. You might be excited to find something you need but you thought was lost — like the key to your new front door.

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 (The Day of the Explorer)

Spend your time as if it’s the most precious resource you have. It is. How you focus your attention is key this year, and you’ll need to exert your will to direct it toward what serves your highest intentions. It’s true that you have important obligations to groups you’re involved with, including professional colleagues or social causes. Yet, it’s essential to guard against overwhelm and scattering your forces. Your most important responsibility is to goals that may have been hard to get off the ground last year. You have something to say that others must hear. Take time to clarify and refine your message.

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 (The Day of the Impression)

Look for opportunities in the coming year to connect with those who can help you actualize your ideals for the future. To take advantage of them, you’ll need to work extra hard to remain grounded and disciplined. Mentors, colleagues or authorities in your field, who appreciate the inspiration and insight you offer, may open doors that further professional goals. Your voice and ideas are powerful, but be sure to formulate your words with care. Know what you’re going to say, and time it well. Projects may go through stages as they coalesce. Gather your intent, set clear priorities and take a realistic, process-oriented approach.

Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 (The Day of Intimacy)

The potential for extraordinary strides toward realizing your goals stands out in your birthday chart. You’ll need to resolve certain challenges, however, to make the most of it. These include tension between your aspirations on the one hand, and self-worth and financial resources, on the other; same with working within a group structure versus your need for freedom and independence. Painful personal history and lingering victim consciousness tie in here. Be honest with yourself and others, and take responsibility for your words and their impact. You’re in the process of claiming your brilliance. To fulfill your dharma in the coming year, offer your voice in service to the community.

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 (The Day of Universality)

Now is the time to really unpack old emotional wounds that have festered and held you back. You’re poised on the brink of a brand-new chapter in your life, and this year you must clear the slate. That means taking responsibility for your own healing: to reach the place where you genuinely leave the past in the past. A lot of this involves actually talking it through; with trusted counselors or friends, and/or through writing it out in journal form. Approach this with utmost honesty — with yourself and others. The more you commit to this process, the more surprising discoveries you’ll make. Exciting liberation is at hand.

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020 (The Day of the Viable Candidate)

The New Moon on your birthday is a heads up to seize opportunities to make a fresh start. With discipline, you can advance considerably in the year ahead toward realizing goals you’ve long cherished. Discipline is the key word here, and will require real effort. Mental focus and linear, logical reasoning may be a challenge. Likewise, you’ll need to guard against temptations toward over-indulgence of all kinds. Impulse spending and excessive partying are signs that you’ve gone off track. On the other hand, your ability to express your feelings effectively, and enjoy social encounters, can strengthen personal relationships this year. Look toward where you want to go, and what you’ll need to get there.

— By Victoria Emory

Readings For Uncertain Times

Dear Friend and Reader:

Greetings at this memorable cross-quarter moment. We are living through unusual times — an understatement, I know — and many people are being pressured to catch up with themselves. That means making long-overdue decisions, fixing problems that have been lingering around, and finally getting on with those elements of your actual purpose.

I’m getting ready to begin An Aquarian Era, the written section of RESPECT, your 2020-21 annual edition. My readings, backed up by two decades of experience, are here to serve as an anchor amid the chaos of our age. The audio sessions (available for instant access) are proving popular for just this reason. You may listen to the introductory sample here.

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Still from a recent Planet Waves TV.

I have worked as a personal consultant to thousands of people at just this kind of stage of their lives: the point where you figure out your choices matter. The place where you feel vulnerable. Where you understand that change must come.

Whether you’re making your decisions preemptively or at the last minute, I have a pair of readings that can help you.

Part one is called INTELLIGENCE, a chapter-length essay for each sign and rising sign. These are my most comprehensive written readings ever.

Part two is called RESPECT, a consultation-length audio reading for each sign and rising sign. As my customers know, I am gifted with the ability to do a full-strength reading using transits and the solar chart. I read not a single sign but the whole chart, so the result is that you get a whole reading.

Astrology is not therapy, but my readings are designed to be therapeutic several different ways. First, I create a calm, introspective space to do the work. I remind you of your inner being; that is who I’m speaking to. The real you who it’s easy to forget. (My audio readings come with gentle, alive, original music.)

My whole purpose as an astrologer is to remind you of your power of decision, and to help you see your options. And as an astrologer, I have a sacred duty to help you use time well. We are accustomed to seeing time as a kind of enemy; I am here to introduce you to time as your friend.

Particularly within the grind and madness of the current world, my readings are oxygen and sunshine and water. Here is one customer’s comment on the RESPECT audio readings:

I would like to say how exceptional the report is; the depth, knowledge, compassion & understanding. So many levels. Which is so helpful in these incredibly intense times. This astrological information goes a long way to bring some light. Many thanks to you.

— Carol Jay

Best of all, my readings are designed to be affordable — a tiny fraction of a personal astrology reading, a fraction of the cost of a single therapy session, and yet providing you with thoughtful mental and emotional nutrition that will feed you for years. Even my very old readings speak to the moment.

They are designed for both Sun and rising sign. You may share them with close friends and loved ones. All 12 signs of RESPECT are available to order here, or you may choose your individual signs.

You may also get all 12 signs of both RESPECT and INTELLIGENCE. Why would you want that? It’s excellent, interesting reading, and every sign is relevant. Listening to one sign’s recording a week will help you expand and refresh your worldview. We are additionally offering combined RESPECT and INTELLIGENCE by individual sign.

If you would like some other option, please write to us, or call (845) 481-5616. You may also find more options here.

Thank you for your business, and for trusting me as your astrologer.

With love,
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Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for February was published on Thursday, Jan. 30. We published your extended monthly horoscope for January on Friday, Dec. 27. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign.

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Monday Morning Horoscope #216 for Feb. 17, 2020 | By Eric Francis Coppolino

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Mars, your ruling planet, has just entered Capricorn, which will change the tone of your life in a noticeable way. You must take special care and caution on all matters associated with higher-ups, by which I mean people in authority of any kind. This includes its smaller forms, right down to postal clerks, though in particular, anyone you report to. Take a minimalist approach, and also a proactive one. Do not spring any surprises. Work out the details of any plan you may be involved with, as the current condition of Mercury retrograde will have a tendency to complicate things, and make communication unreliable. Mostly this is about how people handle their interactions with others, and an environment where it seems challenging to be mindful. That means you must pay all the more attention, and make sure you understand the intentions of others, making no assumptions. And be extremely cautious about taking authority that you do not have. Get your full Aries reading by Eric here.


Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You may draw support from Mars in your fellow earthy sign Capricorn, which will lend momentum to your latest adventure or thought experiment. You may use the future as a resource. However, be wise about how you extract the power of time. Recognize that it’s not infinite, and must be used efficiently and economically — though it is yours to work with. Plan ahead in manageable bites, leaving yourself extra time for all of your intended endeavors. Personally I think that it’s not functional to fill up one’s day-calendar months (or years) ahead. You want flexibility, which is the ability to make decisions. Leave at least half of your productive time (or more) unscheduled. Commit yourself only to your highest professional priorities and your most pleasurable activities. You must be disciplined and structured, which in this scenario means limiting your commitments. Aside, be especially conscious in all public communications. Stop and think twice every time you click “post,” “update,” or “send.” Get your full Taurus reading by Eric here.


Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You are about to get a kind of power test — such as running electricity through a new kind of circuitry. The test involves you sizing up the ability of others to influence you, or meddle in your affairs. It also relates to what you do with desire — whether your own or that of someone else. If I may offer a suggestion here, you want to be the one making the decisions. You are the one who chooses what you do and do not do with your body. This is not so much about fending off aggression as it is handling the assertiveness of others, in situations where it may not serve your best interests. So that is the thing to check out first, last, and foremost. Consider whether the potential resulting attachment is going to benefit you. Notice whether you are making an implied commitment. Where financial matters are concerned, you simply must stay in control of the contractual language. Where there is some important matter pending, with Mercury retrograde taking off, your best tactic will be to delay at least a month. Get your full Gemini reading by Eric here.


Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars has just arrived in your opposite sign, which describes an increase in the energy from your surrounding environment. This could come in the form of professional offers, admirers, and detractors. There will be circumstances where you need to think quickly. I suggest reading Gemini, as the themes are similar, though more general than the contracts/sex/finances angle I describe there. One thing right off the stick is, you must become comfortable with people expressing attraction toward you. Remember, you get to respond your way, meaning, you make your own choices no matter what anyone else wants. Yet you also cannot aggressively resist or push back. That does not work, especially with so much energy moving. All negotiations must be put on the slow tack, giving you time to make a careful review of the ‘who, what and when’ type particulars. Mercury is retrograde, close to Neptune. Things are not quite what they seem, and you will only deduce the truth in layers. That said, listen to the very first thing someone says to you — that is probably the truth. Not the second thing, the first. Get your full Cancer reading by Eric here.


Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You must look after your health and your stress level through the remainder of the season. This has been an important point of focus for you the past three years or so, and you have probably learned a lot about listening to your body and keeping track of your energy level. Pay special attention now. One challenge, though, is that it could be difficult to pin down specifics. So you will need to start with keeping track of your rest, and resisting the temptation to work all the time (one of your specialties, though the current moment calls for some balance). Then do the Wise Woman thing and nourish and tonify. Make sure you eat the foods that you need. Regulate your body temperature and make sure your physical environment is not too warm. If you’re in a northern climate, wrap up and move around in some chilly air. Do things that cool you off, and others that provide a vent for your energy, of which you thankfully have plenty. Get your full Leo reading by Eric here.


Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — The reality of a personal situation may dawn on you, in the form of finally figuring out what someone close to you has been trying to say. The trick will be remembering what that was. It could seem like the most plainly obvious thing when you hear it, then you might forget. So you will need to get an actual pencil and actual paper and actually write it down. This is not merely about a fact; your perspective is intuitive, and this is easy to miss. You’re also evolving your perception, so beware of the notion that you are perceiving someone or something in its ‘final’ form. In particular, you are a work in rapid progress at the moment, and this is going to change the way you see people and your situations with them. The fact that your awareness is changing means you are changing. And, it so happens, in ways you’ve been wanting to change for a long time. Get your full Virgo reading by Eric here.


Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Mars making its way into Capricorn could kick up some dust or hurt feelings from some past events or situation. You may get a sense of the spots you have yet to heal. Be glad you’re finding out about them, and that they are revealing themselves under relatively calm circumstances. You know you’ve been through far worse at certain times the past three years, and in the more distant past. That, however, is easy to forget if you are feeling insecure. I would remind you that it’s not possible to take retribution on the past, tempting though the feeling may be. You cannot fix your history — not, at least, under the conditions of linear time. You can only address how you feel in the present and tap into what it tells you about what you experienced previously. You can make choices about any conditions that may be prompting your feelings. Stay in the present. Keep your focus. Get your full Libra reading by Eric here.


Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You may now be facing a series of unmade decisions, or the opportunity to address unresolved situations. Remember that resolution comes through seeing your options and choosing among them. This is a confrontation — specifically, an inner confrontation that will compel you to come to terms with yourself. You do this a little bit every time you must sort out your possibilities and determine which one of them is really about who you are, and who you want to be. You will, meantime, be confronted by sensations and even some seeming potential choices that have nothing to do with your life now. You will need to be vigilant about knowing what is relevant, and what is essentially the result of the mind control known as guilt. If at any point you get the feeling, “I would do that, except I feel guilty about it,” that is the moment to stop and note you’ve got something with energy in your hands. You’ve got something real. The guilt is there to deflect you from something that is deeply true. Get your full Scorpio reading by Eric here.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — It’s high time you addressed your insecurities and doubts where a domestic situation is concerned. It is difficult for you to see the influence of your family, related to why it is you have trouble standing up to people. You might start with whether you felt anyone actually cared about what you had to say when you were much younger, and how that treatment and your experience of it shaped your world view. I used to speak a lot more quickly than I do today. Once, in a Hakomi Therapy session, I figured out this was because as a child, I had to get a word in edgewise. Other people eat quickly because there was competition at the dinner table, and others have anxiety around the bathroom because there were pressures there. Take the time to notice how you feel when you peel back the first few layers of what seems like the issue. If you find yourself in an argument, ask yourself what, exactly, the matter is — beneath the obvious. If you can, identify what you perceive as the threat. That will tell you most of what you need to know. Get your full Sagittarius reading by Eric here.


Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Mars has entered your sign, which usually means energy and confidence. Yet in an odd way, you may feel blocked, as if you have passionate desires and deep intentions but feel powerless to do anything about them. Or, you feel like it’s too much to offer yourself to the “risk” of moving in the direction you want. This may be an old kind of paralysis, and now you get to figure it out and move through it. If you look a little deeper, consider the possibility that you’re afraid to go out of control. See if you can notice the sensation of needing to “hold it in” so you don’t “let it all out.” Truth is, once you get going on the thing you want and need to do, you’re going to let it all out. To tap your energy is to release your energy. Checking yourself entirely is not any form of protection. Usually, it’s a way to compromise or to please someone who you perceived as holding power over you. You no longer need to do that, though you might piss off someone in the process. You have your business and they have theirs. Get your full Capricorn reading by Eric here.


Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — As you get another chance to experience your anxieties, you might approach the whole thing with a healthy, wholesome dose of “been there, done that.” You also would benefit from using the skills you have acquired. We are taught or told over and over again that fear is not effective or accurate or useful. But addressing it remains a vexing issue, in a world where there seems to be new terror around every corner. Yet is that really true? Yes, we are mortal; yes, we face the challenge or the struggle to survive. Many struggle to get through the day. But that is different from guilt or anxiety, whether general or projected onto some specific topic. You might pay special attention to fears projected onto sexuality in any form. That will contain particularly vital information, especially if the fear comes in the form of guilt. Have you tried to exercise your sexual freedom lately, whether in your mind, with your words, or with your body? What exactly happens? Get your full Aquarius reading by Eric here.

Astrology Studio for Pisces | A New Reading by Eric Francis

This is a momentous time in collective history, and a turning point in your life. As the year develops, most of the movement — including Pisces’ ruling planet Jupiter, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction — will be pointing into Aquarius, the most sensitive and innermost angle of your chart. I will also cover the retrogrades of Venus and Mars, and the forthcoming Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in your friendship sign Capricorn. Mostly, I will help you orient on your profound journey, and offer guidance how to harmonize with the world at this unusual time. Pre-order this reading here.


Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Mercury is now stationing retrograde in your sign. You may have noticed that you’ve been investing considerable energy in getting others to take responsibility for themselves. This may be an actual fact and necessity of your existence. However, you might find it easier to simply move on from those who lack or are deficient in this basic value: accountability. You have enough to do, and you have enough people to do it with — and most of them are not strictly necessary. For a while, experiment with the idea that you’re on your own — a solo actor rather than part of a group. Yesterday I got curious and looked up the homeopathic proving of avocado. Try this on for size: “This is a remedy for people who feel very strongly outside the group. The issue is not so much about belonging, but about having some extra, additional powers or knowledge, setting one apart from the general activities of the others. The person can see what the others are doing and can interpret how the group activity will or will not flow.” Stand apart when you must. Get your full Pisces reading by Eric here.

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