Mercury, almost direct, after what a retrograde

Memories of another hurricane. This astonishing image -- one of my favorite news photos ever -- is from page one of The New York Times of Sept. 18, 1999; the presentation takes up most of the top half of the page and depicts a very flooded, burning Bound Brook, New Jersey, a glimpse of the apocalyptic damage caused in the New York area by Hurricane Floyd. This happened shortly after the grand cross and total solar eclipse of Aug. 11, 1999. I was among the evacuated -- and for the next eight years I traveled the world (with Planet Waves in tow) as a direct result. Now Hurricane Irene is heading up the East Coast, and we're expecting a lot of nonstop rain. Well, eventually it will stop, but even parts of New York City are being evacuated. Nobody seems especially concerned up in the hills north of the city. Photo courtesy of Neal McDonough.

Today is Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. Mercury, which has been retrograde since August 2, stations direct in Leo at 6:03 pm. The retrograde spanned from early Virgo back to mid-Leo. For the next couple of weeks we’re in what’s sometimes called the echo phase or shadow phase, as Mercury goes back over the degrees of the zodiac where it was just retrograde, and re-enters Virgo. This culminates with a Mercury-Chiron opposition on Sept. 10.

Earth & water - photo by Eric.

This was the Mercury retrograde that began with the United States coming right up to the brink of default, as the Treasury’s ability to borrow money ran out the very day of the station. Congress raised the debt ceiling just in the nick of time, but not before taking the world through a nauseating hostage situation. A few days later, the United States had its credit rating dropped by Standard & Poor’s, causing yet another wild ride on global stock markets.

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, held a religious revival at Reliant Stadium in Houston, where he prayed for God to heal the economy, and declared his candidacy for the presidency. Many of his guest speakers believe that the world is ending, and that it’s their job to hasten the process along.

A Russian spacecraft blew up on its way to the International Space Station. Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple Computer. And a rare East Coast earthquake, centered in the district of everyone’s favorite congressman, Eric Cantor, shut down the cooling systems of the North Anna nuclear power station, which had to be shut down. The quake damaged the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, and immobilized Amtrak up the eastern seaboard. Numerous nuclear power plants declared ‘unusual events’ but remained in operation. As the retrograde winds down, Hurricane Irene is headed up the East Coast.

How has your life been?

This has been an unusual mercury retrograde in that Mars has been extremely active through the whole thing. Mars ingressed Cancer on Aug. 3, the day after Mercury stationed. This put Mars in a prominent position for several reasons — the first being that from the first degree of Cancer, it was aligned with the Aries Point, which is a kind of magnifier. Mars in Cancer can range from passionate to needy to emotionally violent, which was getting the ripple effect because those early degrees of Cancer are so powerful.

Then for the next 23 days, Mars made aspects to the planets on the cardinal cross (Uranus, Kronos and Pluto), as well as Chiron and Jupiter — finally making its last aspect in Cancer, a square to Saturn on Thursday. That gave the feeling of being backed into a corner, and the sensation of underground feelings pushing against Saturn a little like steam inside a pressure cooker. Mercury retrogrades can be mentally stressful, as rational thought has a tendency to collapse. Mars in Cancer making all those aspects added an emotionally tense dimension.

Where to from here? Forward, slowly. So slowly in fact that you start in the present, with a careful evaluation of where your life is now. Mercury will move through Leo, re-enter Virgo, and as it approaches that opposition to Chiron on Sept. 10, things will come into focus as if the lens elements in a telescope are moving into precisely the right alignment to see something you were missing. The key is to look now. Assess the changes in your life, your relationships, your work and financial circumstances; assess what you’ve learned, how you’ve grown, and what has been damaged. Mercury opposite Chiron — the final destination of this Mercury retrograde — is an image of both growth and healing, the common ground being focused awareness.

25 thoughts on “Mercury, almost direct, after what a retrograde”

  1. Kat –

    Maybe I’m here because I like living on the edge, on borders? I’m not sure yet, but it’s working out slowly within as to why I’m here.

    I’ve not read Border Song yet, but my brother was telling me about it, and I’d certainly like to read it. Did you ever read the Annie Dillard book, The Living? The later portions of that book cover when both sides of my family took up living in the Ham, so it seemed like reading a distant memoir of those early days. It was not the world’s best novel by far, but I do think she captured some of the spirit of those days and people.

    I was actually up in June, visiting my parents for a couple of weeks, lazing about and doing much of nothing. It rained almost every day – bliss! They live on Eldridge, on the bay side, so it was a room with a view. I’m not very homesick, I’ve now lived here and in Tucson a total of five years, but I do need a salt water/trees/rain fix every so often.

    It has been nice connecting, keep dry! I’d send you some of our heat, but I can’t figure out how to package it.

    Take care!

  2. All of august was insane but yesterday and Friday especially so. Definitely feels like a bit of an emergence this a.m. As though we’ve been under a churning Irene for months, not days. That aftermath of a storm feeling…ain’t it grand the wind stopped blowin Ma?

  3. Brendan – Now, what is it about you and borders? Speaking of which, have you read Border Song yet? I can’t remember the author, but it takes place in Whatcom County and was a very good read. We have had a cool (weather wise) summer this year. Almost all of the gardens were almost a month behind normal. And now, just this week, we had two mornings with the first intoxicating scent of fall. Are you homesick yet?

    I love Arizona, though – breathtaking – Jerome, Sedona…. I was born and raised in Oregon, but after several other stops, moved to Bellingham in 1976 and have been here most of the time since – 8 years on Lummi Island, though. Anyway, this has been fun connecting. Take care. Kat

  4. Kat –

    I’m now in the Bisbee, AZ area, only about 7 miles from the border. About from Ferndale to Blaine equivalent, maybe a little less.

    Worlds from B’ham, of course: we hit 100 or so today. A good day lie around and read while a box fan is blasting away, moving air so that it feels a little less torrid.

  5. LMAO, Amanda…did I really write that?
    It came from a place within that I’m finally getting to know better. It’s taken such a long time for me; but that was/is my path.

    I am just so very, very grateful that I’ve actually reached a place on my life’s journey where acceptance and transformation are courses of action that I can navigate.

    As everyone has mentioned with this discussion, being able to move into uncharted territory, and rise from the ashes like the Phoenix–if that’s what happens–is the needed resilience for an evolutionary life.

    How grateful, and proud, I feel right now.

  6. Praying hard for all our east coast people and their pets too. Hope Mama Nature has mercy on us but am encouraged by what seems a much more proactive approach from leadership with mandatory evacuations and other preparations. I have a very emotionally needy and fear-driven 12 step friend in New York that I have been working with over the phone for awhile now. I pray that these situations, an earthquake and hurricane in a week’s span, somehow transform into gifts for her, helping her put all things into perspective, and that she experiences trust and safety in the creative and loving arms of the universe. Bless all of you and keep you safe.

  7. KatLyons – It truly is a small world here at PW: I was born and raised in B’ham! Far from there now, but still in my heart always.

    East Coasters, please do be careful! Muddle through and come back when you can!

  8. My August has been a time of transition and solidifying. Here are a few developments:

    I learned about Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth on PW and have decided to focus my political efforts with them to call for an independent investigation of what occurred that fateful day. I joined a Pacific Northwest regional action group, and it feels wonderful to be taking action. I am already engaged in several projects to bring awareness to others and to eventually, hopefully, bring the criminals responsible to justice. Despite everything I just said, when I am thinking clearly, I also have no hope for success nor fear of failure. Living in the “don’t know” mind, the only thing that matters is the I take action that resonates with an inner sense of integrity. The results are out of my hands

    I also have decided, and taken positive steps, to increase my private counseling practice with the hope that I may eventually transition from non-profit work to being independent. I have some work to do with some remaining limiting fears and beliefs.

    A breakthrough occurred in my meditation practice, AND my teacher is rumored to be coming in the next few days to Surrey, BC, Canada (about 30 miles from Bellingham, WA where I live very near the border)

    I have almost completed re-reading the Carlos Castaneda books (again) and got more out of them this time than ever before. Here are some random quotes from don Juan:

    “A warrior is impeccable when he trusts his personal power regardless of whether it is small or enormous.”

    “A warrior takes his lot, whatever it may be and accepts it in ultimate humbleness. He accepts in humbleness what he is, not as grounds for regret, but as a living challenge.”

    “A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

    “Everything that surrounds us is an unfathomable mystery. We must try to unravel these mysteries, but without ever hoping to accomplish this. A warrior, aware of the unfathomable mysteries that surrounds him and aware of his duty to try to unravel it, takes his rightful place among the mysteries and regards himself as one. Consequently, for a warrior there is no end to the mystery of being, whether being means a pebble or an ant or oneself. That is a warrior’s humbleness. One is equal to everything.”

    One last quote that has given me food for thought: “You are complaining. You have been complaining all your life because you don’t assume responsibility for your actions. To assume responsibility for one’s actions means that one is ready to die for them. It doesn’t matter what the decision is. Nothing is more or less serious than anything else. Don’t you see? In a world where death is the hunter, there are no small or big decisions. There are only decisions we make in the face of inevitable death.”

    My thoughts are will all of you on the East Coast over the next few days and beyond. Please stay in touch when possible. Kat

  9. It is true, this Sunday transiting Saturn will conjunct the U.S. Sibly Saturn at 14 Libra 48. It is also true that the USA Solar Return (Sibly) has Venus conjunct Hades and opposite Pluto and square Uranus. These are indeed sad maybe even tragic days for America, but there are hopeful signs of a strong and resiliant recovery when the natal and solar return charts for the U.S. reveal their secrets.

    For example Sunday’s New Moon at 5 Virgo 27 is conjunct the U.S. natal Astarea at 5 Virgo 32. Astarea, the goddess, was the last Olympian to leave the Earth, according to mythology, when all the other gods had given up on us mortals. Astraea exemplifies courage and a tenacity to stick it out through the tough times.

    The Solar Return chart’s ruler Venus is under a lot of duress, but she’s not without help in that chart. The Moon sextiles her from Virgo as does Jupiter from Taurus, but Chiron and Neptune are trine the Cancer Venus so healing emotional wounds will provide strength while strong and tangible (earth) support is plentiful.

    Where the Moon is in the SR chart is where Venus is in Sunday’s New Moon chart and she’s only a couple of degrees away from the Sun and Moon. Yes, they oppose Chiron and Neptune in this chart but the sextile between Uranus in Aries and Vesta in Aquarius form a magical yod to the New Moon trio which I believe will produce the desire and determination to break free of the old ways that are damaged and stifling; not just here in this country but all over the world.

    The asteroid Atropos is conjunct the Galactic Core in Sunday’s New Moon chart, a symbol of what it takes to conclude something. The Universe is providing the where-with-all to end what is wrong with our civilization and begin anew. Also traveling with the New Moon and Venus on Sunday is asteroid Isis in the same degree as the Sun and Moon . . all in Virgo the sign of sorting out the details. Isis represents picking up the pieces and putting them back together. They are all trine both Jupiter in Taurus who will keep our spirits up and Pluto who will demolish any old and outdated and diseased forms that need destroying.

    In the natal U.S. chart, Pluto in the 2nd house of values is getting company. In the Sunday NM chart asteroid Pallas Athene is only 2 degrees away from him and with her strategic planning capabilities she will provide him with the blueprint to bring our country out of this slump. In addition the goddess Ceres is sextile our country’s natal Pluto with additional supportive nurturing. She’s not all that fond of him but she knows all about death and rebirth, just like he does, and besides she’s thinking of her daughter who is Pluto’s queen. She squares the GC and Atropos and will make sure the necessary ending is conveyed to America’s Pluto. Between Ceres and Pallas Athene, the way to renewal will be found for our country, by assuring that there will be a balance found between the masculine and feminine energy, and therefore, in the future, harmony will be the reward for all the hard work and grief we have endured.

  10. “I really am looking forward to even deeper analysis of all the ‘hurled in my face’ realities that finally were received by me.”

    definitely on that page with you, mindy….. i think. i’m wavering on the “really.” 🙂

  11. No hope, I meant, not home. Lovely to read everyone’s experiences, loved your description of the artist, pth. Carrie, so glad you are finding some freedom from your toxic family, I had to take quite a long break from mine before I could engage with them in a way that didn’t make me sick. I hope your path ahead continues to free you to enjoy you husband and children and the beautiful life you have built with them.

  12. So other than stressing over world events like the debt ceiling and being flabbergasted by the US being downgraded by Standard and Poors after all the great work they did in 2008 and prior about those stinky derivatives, I’ve had a pretty smooth Mercury retrograde. Until yesterday. So funny and classic Mercury retrograde. I thought my work laptop had been stolen from my car yesterday evening. I was convinced I had it in my car. I had just shredded the post it with the encrypted password on it and thrown the laptop in my car after a day of meetings at work. I stopped off at the grocery store and came home. OMG, the computer was gone!!! Holy crap, make a plan, call my bosses, call up my insurance company, drive back to the meeting place to look for it in the parking lot, decide it was stolen in the supermarket parking lot, and figure my planned landscaping job may have to be put off to pay for the computer, crap, crap, crap…oh well. Next morning called the office where the all day meeting was yesterday and leave a message just in case by some slim chance I had left it there. Half an hour later get a call back and….they have it!!! OMG, again, and yay! Classic Mercury retrograde catching up with me. While I had no home I might have left it at that office, I did remember that Mercury retrograde presents problems that end up not being problems at all, but I was altogether without expectation and had prepared myself to take full responsibility. I work for a little non-profit and it would have been too much to expect them to have to take the heat for the loss of my laptop.

    This last week has been a great week of getting to know my co-workers better and bonding. So great what with all the ups and downs of the last year with this shaky little non-profit. I enjoyed being myself with all of them and contributing to the laughter and tears in this week of being with them. We’re usually all out in the field and touch base only occasionally, so it was great to have a whole week together. It’s a foundation that will serve us well as we move forward together from here.

  13. I’m with Michele…this has been an extremely rough past few weeks and things have been settling down. The stock taking already began for me and that has produced some needed insight on a few fronts.

    I really am looking forward to even deeper analysis of all the ‘hurled in my face’ realities that finally were received by me. Don’t know how much more of this Merc. RX I could have taken.

    Thanks to PW as important and timely guidance was graciously provided!!

  14. It has been a slow, recursive summer. July and August have been full of insane behaviour and noisy, undigested stuff.

    Yesterday I took my kids to a museum where we experienced a Yayoi Kusama exhibit. A scary and fascinating woman, full of female craziness.
    This is from Wikipedia by Yayoi:
    “One day I was looking at the red flower patterns of the tablecloth on a table, and when I looked up I saw the same pattern covering the ceiling, the windows and the walls, and finally all over the room, my body and the universe. ”

    I suspect that behind, beneath and beyond all the weirdness, Nothingness is humming a newborn into existence.

  15. hmmm… i’m finding myself a bit envious of those of you with such wonderful insights and inspirations! i wasn’t thinking august or this merc rx were all that bad until the past week and a half or so. some shit has hit the fan and i am feeling beaten down. slooooooowwwwww start today, as though now that i’ve had some sleep, i finally have the capacity to feel a bit depressed or something. strange paradox, that.

  16. Beautiful photograph! The waters remind me of the intense feelings I have been having throughout this Merc Rx. Yesterday, while driving home from Cottonwood to Flagstaff under the big blue sky with those fluffy white clouds, I suddenly began to cry. It was like a dam bursting and flooding everywhere; my feelings too heavy to hold back like flood waters. I cried because I realized how much I have lost because of my mother’s dysfunction; relationships with both my older brother and my baby brother whom I helped raise, my self esteem, my sense of self, my sexuality, my soul, and years of my life spent in dysfunction and misery. I felt robbed and the loss was a huge gaping one. I cried so hard I felt like my stomach was going to go through my backbone. It was all the pent up grief of YEARS pouring forth from my eyes, heart, and soul.

    Once the flood was abated, I looked up at that beautiful sky, the tall pine trees, and the sacred peaks of Flagstaff and I realized I had a wonderful life here, now, that I had consciously made with my heart and hands. I saw the love my husband and I had created together and our children and the peaceful life we have and I felt a deep feeling of joy; still tinged with pain but a definite hopeful joy.

    Today it is raining a gentle slow rain and I spent this quiet time in the morning examining my grief over my baby brother, writing about him and my feelings, coming to grips with another loss in my life but knowing that I can move on and that in allowing myself the grief and the rage, I am stronger.

    I am finding out who I am, separate from the dysfunction, separate from my mother’s deprecating definition of me…and it feels freeing.

    That’s what Merc Rx with Mars and all the rest is all about in my personal life. Amazing. I have a lot to work with in the coming weeks. As I do the work, I still keep spreading the love, shining the light, oozing compassion for everyone I interact with. That feels so good to do and is in itself an affirmation of my well-being and healing.

  17. Reading Mary Plumb’s little article published on Monday opened up a better understanding of what is happening now, especially as Irene approaches. She sees the alchemy of Moon conjunct Mars in Cancer and square Saturn in Libra in a way that had escaped me. Here is her article:

    “A warming and yet moist energy coming to meet our edges”

  18. “That is exactly where it’s at – inching forward into completely unknown territory – it’s like there’s suddenly a whole new future out there – one I couldn’t have even dreamed up!”

    indranibe – you’ve encapsulated the experience that I have had too, perfectly – thank you!

    What is happening to me is so far from expected that I am reeling right now, and not feeling a little fear because it is so fragile and new, and that I somehow don’t deserve it. But I do. 🙂

  19. “Where to from here? Forward, slowly. So slowly in fact that you start in the present, with a careful evaluation of where your life is now.” You couldn’t have said it better! That is exactly where it’s at – inching forward into completely unknown territory – it’s like there’s suddenly a whole new future out there – one I couldn’t have even dreamed up!

    And yes, I agree, it’s been a doozie of an August, but at the same time all the “re re re” stuff was necessary, and incredibly useful. Seriously looking forward to seeing where things “settle” over the next couple of weeks….

    And I love the photo – and the caption – so that’s where it all began…

    Cheers! 🙂

  20. I love Merc. Rx, personally I collect a ton of inspirational, great ideas, intuitions,
    and things that rocket thru as my “mind” is away on vacation. always have my
    journals handy, or a scrap of paper at least, in my pocket, because they come suddenly,
    like a microburst.
    then, after he goes direct, I really start implementing and organizing the best ones. this retro is/was esp. cool, because of the Leo aspect, coming straight from the creative core heart identity, and now I get to sort thru, organize, and put to work the next steps in my plans while using the goddess Virgo energy. pretty cool. kinda anxious to get to it, got some grrrrrreat stuff, and it was all v. clear.

    also, was able to re- re- re- a lot of stuff with a parental unit and got some shocking (meaning: strong ‘aha’ moments) and v. insightful info as well. good stuff, good stuff.

    all titrating.

    oh, and the scorpion that just showed up crawling across the floor told me to mention I’m learning to work with Power better. as in actually learning to carefully/artfully wield/use it as opposed to have it use me……yeah. shhhhhhh. oh yeah.

    thanks PW- I REALLY consciously used a lot of stuff I’ve learned over these past months here during this retro: just sayin’.

    for me, it’s less about raising awareness of certain things, and more about learning and putting things I already know/feel/experience/am in a context or form that allows me to see a picture
    and then fr. that picture can make better and better choices for myself. and what I can do…
    puzzle pieces….fitting together. chink*chink* chink*-

    hands in prayer position


  21. Pretty much as described. It’s been one fuck of an August.

    But things are settling on all fronts. For now.

    I’m starting to breath again and take stock. There is much to analyze. Much.

    But I thank PW for keep us apprised of “up there” events and sharing valuable insight and advice.

    People around me also seem pretty shell-shocked. So I try to share smiles as much as I can. They seem to be appreciated.

    I guess that’s good enough for now. Sharing some love and knowing it raises people up just even a little.

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