Mercury retrograde coolest thing since Sixties

Dear Friend and Reader:

MERCURY IS about to be retrograde in Aquarius, and as it slows to a station on Sunday, a collection of planets and a solar eclipse are lining up in this sign. Searching our star files, we can find nothing like this for more than four decades — when we come out on Feb. 4, 1962, at the dawn of the Sixties.

Photo by Sean Hayes.
Photo by Sean Hayes.

The retrograde goes from Sunday, Jan. 11 through Sunday, Feb. 1, which is Midwinter holiday or Imbolc. Along the way is Bush leaving office (on a retrograde, as he so famously came in) the presidential inauguration, 11 inaugural balls, a solar eclipse, more twisted economic news and plenty of excitement, chaos and [hopefully] creative confusion.

During the retrograde, Juno, Jupiter, the Moon, Sun, North Node, Nessus, Chirion and Neptune will all be in Aquarius, with Mars and Mercury close behind in late Capricorn.

This kind of alignment does not happen every day. It’s directly reminiscent of a famous Aquarius pile-up that coincided with a total eclipse of the Sun on Feb. 4, 1962. This is one of those charts that every astrology student looks at bug-eyed the first time they see it, and which Philip Sedgwick said today that at the time, astrologers were certain the world would split in half.

Both charts involve major alignments of two of the slowest moving planets: Uranus and Pluto. In the 1962 chart, Uranus is about to form a conjunction with Pluto, kicking off what we think of as the Sixties. In the 2009 chart, Uranus is about to form a square with Pluto, kicking off what we now think of as 2012.

The Uranus-Pluto cycle of alignments is about revolution, liberation and creativity.

Writes Richard Tarnas in Cosmos & Psyche, wherein he compares the era of the French Revolution era with the Sixties (where two such alignments occurred): “The massive upsurge of the revolutionary impulse during these two eras was not only or even principally a political phenomenon, for it expressed itself in every aspect of cultural life: in the music heard, the books read, the ideas discussed, the ideals embraced, the images produced, the evolution of language and fashion, the radical changes in social and sexual mores.”

“It was visible in the incessant challenge to established beliefs and widespread embrace of new perspectives, the movements for radical and theological and church reform and antireligoiuis revolt, the drive towards innovation and experiment that affected all the arts, the sudden empowerment of the young, the pivotal role of university communities in the rapid cultural shift. And it was evident above all in the prodigious energy and activism of both eras, the general impulse toward extremes and radicalization in so many areas, the suddenly intensive will to construct a new world.”

We may not be getting all this with during the next three weeks, but we are being drawn into the vortex of a first class cosmic and worldly adventure.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Additional research by Genevieve Salerno

5 thoughts on “Mercury retrograde coolest thing since Sixties”

  1. I was 9 years old during 1962, old enough to remember it well. To answer the question about why the fallout shelters and air raid drills (“duck and cover”), 1962 was the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. That is regarded by historians as the point in which the global Cold War came closest to erupting into nuclear war. It wasn’t just an abstract fear that people were acting from; it was an immediate and personal fear.

    I think 1962 was the real turning point in Camelot, not the one people usually think of, JFK’s assassination in 1963. The Depression-era generation, my parents’ generation, who fought in WWII “to make the world safe for democracy”, came home victorious and proceeded into the 1950s with high hopes and rigid ideas. That was the time during which the American middle class was created (which is now, in the early 2000s, being decimated.)

    The Cuban Missile Crisis must have been a cold splash of water in their faces, an enormous shock, a hint that maybe we weren’t going to live happily ever after according to the plans of their conservative 1950s dream world. Very Uranian-Plutonian. (I also think that the Depression generation suffered from PTSD, although I don’t think they would ever admit it.)

    It’s interesting to see the parallel between that time and the present moment.

  2. Oh yeah, there was a centralized movement starting to roll in America, groups of people rose up, black power, indian power, woman power, gay power, flower power. Power to the people!! And the music, . . . wasn’t the blues getting it together with rock and roll, both in America and England.

    It would be really cool to hear from readers in other parts of the world on this one. We are more united this time around.

  3. I would have been 5 and ready to move out into the big world of school. The one room school house down the road was in its last year so the bus would be transporting me to the village nun school come fall.

    I was probably watching Bullwinkle and listening to Mr Peabody and his pet boy Sherman, and Fractured Fairy Tales. That seems like a match to me.

    Len W, I love your 9 year old stories in a foreign land I could not have imagined. You really hit the floor running.

    You bring back memories of fallout shelters and sirens and those tests of the emergency broadcast system. What the hell did they think was gonna happen anyway? They were a fact of life. We never really talked about it.

  4. Eric,

    i read your blog regarding Feb 4, 1962 with interest. i was there, i remember it vividly. It was the day before by 9th birthday. i was having the best year of my life. i had finally gotten the hang of school and was earning straight A’s. We had a President who i considered to be “mine”. i told my dad that Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) was my favorite athlete – he scolded me and sent me to bed without dinner as punishment (he considered Ali to be a dangerous influence). i was not allowed to listen to rock-and-roll (but i did anyway, on the sly – that’s a whole story to itself). i was, in short, aggressively beginning to individuate myself (hormones bust have been kicking in early) and feel good about myself. A few months later i lied to my parents and rode my bike to the part of town where people of color lived to see James Brown and the JB’s perform at a roller rink (for THREE dollars admission). My friend and i were the only white people there and nobody gave us a hard time, as a matter of fact i danced with a girl for the first time in my life. We lived close to an Air Force base. Every day the jets would scramble and every day i thought that the nuclear holocaust had come.

    Thank you for bringing back the memories. i’m looking forward to creating another great year with Planet Waves as an important source of information and (more important) COMMUNITY.

    With DEEP Gratitude,
    Len W

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