Dear Friend and Reader:
Mercury is the original planet associated with Virgo, but with the discovery of Chiron in 1977, a new player got involved. Chiron is also associated with Sagittarius. The difference is that the healing aspect of Chiron is attributed to Virgo, and the questing aspect of Chiron is attributed to Sagittarius. In this edition of Chiron Files, I would like to cover Mercury Retrograde (Aug. 2 through Aug. 26), which involves a relationship between Mercury and Chiron.
This particular Mercury retrograde starts in Virgo and ends up in Leo. Last summer’s Mercury retrograde entirely in Virgo was pretty challenging; the current retrograde may involve some cleanup from last summer, but the involvement of Leo means there’s some healing work around what is commonly known as ego identity.
When many people first get involved in spiritual work, therapy or any form of self-awareness raising — from the Landmark Forum to the yoga path — one of the first things we discover is that we’re not necessarily who we thought we were. This identity we cling to, made of various trappings, symbols of status, a name, a reputation, is not all there is to human identity and certainly not the human psyche. It’s like the outermost layer, which gets most of the attention. And just as the package often distracts us from the nature of the contents, this outer layer tends to distract us from what’s going on inside.
One interesting thing about astrology is that many come to the work seeking not just a view of the future, but also a deeper understanding of their past, their motives, and the layers of their minds. Many of us are are starting to realize we exist as a conscious realization, but are not sure how to access the wisdom and information that’s there. Mercury retrograde starting in Virgo gives us a clue who we think we are, as a concept (the specialty of Virgo) — and then as it backs in to Leo, we go deeper. Deeper would be a level of self-awareness, the first glimmer being that there’s a difference between the inside and the outside. Mercury will make a series of oppositions to Neptune in early Pisces, which is a way of saying that we become conscious of a mystery we might not have known even existed.
The retrograde (in some ways, any retrograde) is like an introspective mirror. A retrograde planet points us inward, as well as toward the past. Retrogrades also ask questions. In Leo, the first question is — what do you want to express? Many people feel this need to express themselves in some way, a need to shine and stand out. But often life is too distracting and the process of self-expression is not strong enough to have that question take root. So let’s see what comes up when we blend Mercury retrograde with Leo. One question to ask is, in what ways was your self-expression thwarted as a child? In particular, in what ways did you try to protect your parents and early caregivers by turning it down just a little (or a lot)?
Then the more challenging question: How did this influence you? It’s possible to go back to that child and get some information — then the next step is to use it. You would do that by consciously making choices to feel safer expressing yourself, realizing that the past is gone, and you don’t have to act like you’re still in the midst of it.
Yet there is something calling us even deeper: deeper than childhood, or any events of this lifetime, which is Chiron in Pisces. What we get with Chiron in Pisces is access to the layer of consciousness that transcends this lifetime. It’s as if we’re reaching for this, unsure it exists. ‘The soul’ is one of the most controversial and elusive concepts that exists for many people, but once you start to glimpse that deeper layer, it’s possible to focus on it and start to go there.
So think of Mercury retrograde in Leo as astrology that helps you ask a series of questions: how do I project my creative energy? What do I want to express? Who do I think I am? What image do I create in the world, and is this an accurate reflection of my intentions?
But with Chiron in Pisces, the exploration goes to a deeper level of existence. That starts to manifest in September when Mercury (then back in Virgo) makes an opposition to Chiron. That’s the moment when the lights come on, and when many of the questions you’ve been asking during the retrograde bear the fruit of wisdom.