Shifting Gears: Mercury Retrograde and More

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury is stationary and just switched to apparent retrograde motion at 7:14 pm EDT (23:14:20 UTC) tonight. It will station direct on July 31 (or Aug. 1 for some time zones). You can read a little more about tonight’s chart here. Of course, no planets actually physically change direction; it’s just a trick of perception due to our perspective here on Earth.

Macro shot of an exotic peony; photo by Amanda Painter.

Even so, Mercury retrogrades do seem to offer unique opportunities for review and introspection — and sometimes maddening glitches. A couple of aspects this week suggest some extra weight and energy to this process, along with the current eclipses.

You likely know by now that Mercury retrogrades tend to be easier to handle the more willing one is to slow down — whether that means being more deliberate in thought, pausing before sending a text or email, delaying major purchases or negotiations, or checking event details before rushing out the door (not to mention staying focused while driving). Yet that’s often easier said than done, particularly in our increasingly fast-paced and digitally based world.

If there are patterns you’d like to shift regarding the ways you handle communication — such as reacting while defensive, over-identifying with your ideas and statements on social media, or more general habits — this particular retrograde may offer a boost with that, since it’s beginning between two eclipses. (We had a total solar eclipse in Cancer on July 2, and the corresponding lunar eclipse is July 16-17, with the Capricorn Full Moon.)

Tuesday’s first quarter Moon — the Libra Moon square the Cancer Sun — marks the midway point between the current two eclipses. You may find it useful to consider what of note emerged for you on or around July 2, and to check in on any intentions that you set. Is there anything you can do this week to continue moving something forward in a tangible way? Have you encountered any unexpected opportunities or adjustments?

Full chart for tonight’s Mercury station retrograde.

As for this week’s other major aspects, the first is the Sun opposing the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn. The Sun’s exact opposition to Saturn is Tuesday, and the exact opposition to Pluto is on Sunday, July 14, but you can think of it as one weeklong event. Since the Sun is an expressive archetype, you may notice interpersonal dynamics similar to what you experienced when Mars recently made these same aspects.

Specifically, you’ll want to stay aware of how you’re reacting to limitations that seem to be set by other people or circumstances, as well as anything that could be described as a power struggle (particularly with authority figures). Where is the point of balance between your need to express yourself and your obligations?

Can you communicate these needs honestly with those in a position to negotiate with you, without being domineering? Stifling yourself is not a great option, as it can lead to reckless rebellion — which is not any more constructive than ignoring important duties from the outset.

Intense encounters with others, including seeming breakdowns in relationships, have the potential to reveal things that have been ignored and need to be met directly and openly. Can you move through frustrations, fears and ego defenses to really dig into fundamental changes for the good of both you and those around you?

The potential is there — and could ride along the wake created by these eclipses, kind of like how a water skier enjoys the strip of water behind a motorboat after the effort of getting up on the skis. Just remember that your point of focus — where you look — will go a long way in determining both your balance and where you end up.

Simplified chart section showing Thursday’s Mars-Uranus square, with neighbors; from left: Juno, Mars and Mercury in Leo; the Sun, lunar North Node and Venus in Cancer; Vesta and Uranus in Taurus. The Sun’s proximity to the node indicates it’s eclipse season.

Finally, Mars in Leo is moving into a square with Uranus in Taurus, exact on Thursday. This is a restless, impulsive, ‘I just wanna be freeeee!’ aspect. And while that could merge quite well with the general Eclipse Zone energy, Mercury being retrograde really ups the ante on the necessity to think carefully. The Sun’s aspects to Saturn and Pluto also complicate the following of spontaneous urges, as just described.

It looks like the key with Mars-Uranus is to be as preemptive as possible in noticing where you can — and need to — make creative changes in your life, and then doing so. Four days’ notice might not feel like much enough to be ‘preemptive’, but you’re likely already aware of where your life is starting to feel stale or cramped. What processes could use a new spark of effort or imagination?

Note that if you find yourself encountering explosions (especially the metaphorical kind), it could be a sign that you’ve been unconscious or in denial of something you need to break away from or change. Again, with Mercury retrograde, and close to Mars, it might not be immediately obvious what that is. A light hand and a circumspect approach that considers all possibilities likely will be helpful should you find yourself in this position. Someone who knows you well might also offer valuable outside perspective, which you can check against your own intuitive hints.

All in all, this looks like a week to tread deliberately — which is not the same as fearfully. The astrology is suggesting the need to be true to yourself. You just need to recognize that you’re doing so as an interdependent being surrounded by other people also trying to be true to themselves — many of whom share your wider goals and dreams, even if you’re going about them in different ways. As always, communication will be key. Consider noticing what messages you’ve been sending to yourself, first.

Yours & truly,

Daily Birthday Readings from Planet Waves

Sunday, July 7, 2019 (The Day of Imaginative Revelations)

Give the past its place, but not too much of one. Give it enough of a voice that you learn from your experiences. Be sure to claim the knowledge and wisdom you’ve gained. Check in with people you’ve known a long time, if you want to check whether something you’re thinking of, planning or about to do is realistic. And above all else, be strategic with money. You do not need to spend a lot to get the results you want, and it’s likely you could do with spending a whole lot less. As wise old Ben Franklin supposedly said, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Monday, July 8, 2019 (The Day of the Dark Pragmatist)

You are edging closer to something you want, something genuinely important. Yet you need to watch your bearings. That’s a navigational term, which means know your position, your course and your speed. Check these regularly. You may be driven by financial motivation to a degree that does not work for you, and that’s one of the most important things to keep tabs on. Where money is concerned, know how much you need and why. Make sure the basics are taken care of first. And in all of your dealings, be impeccably honest. In the long run, it will pay.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (The Day of Wonder)

Work is good, and you like the stuff, though be aware when you’re working too hard to meet a particular goal. By too hard, I mean pay attention to the potential for inefficiency, and notice when you feel like you’re over-efforting. The moment you notice, back off a little, and reconsider your plan. Work with a conscious strategy that you tune on a near-daily basis, if only by making micro adjustments. This will keep you conscious and alert — that’s what you need.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 (The Day of Passive-Active Duality)

In anything you do, you may notice there is a difficult way, and an easier way. By difficult, I mean running into obstacles that make no sense. How do you handle them? Do you go back toward the obstacle, or do you go in another direction? Think of this as the difference between the past and the future. In any choice you make, which way are you headed? Here is the thing: there are certain elements in your life that you are really, truly done with. Know what they are, and be bold about choosing something else — something alive and fresh.

Thursday, July 11, 2019 (The Day of the Unsolicited Opinion)

Use your intuition — it will guide you well. However, be aware that it has certain properties. It rarely ever speaks of fear, of attack, or of defense. That is something else. Intuition might calmly guide you away from danger or toward opportunity. It’s the gentle tug, the voice whispering in your ear, the knowledge or understanding of something unfamiliar to you that turns out to be not just right, but helpful. It’s the kind of thing that comes to you; you don’t go to it.

Friday, July 12, 2019 (The Day of the Persuasive Presence)

For the past year, you’ve been confronting a kind of power that seems to be coming from outside of you. There are times when it’s seemed relentless, yet the truth is, it’s pushed you to be a better person and to accomplish some great things. Now, you get to take over the process. You get to be the source of motivation, from the deepest level. Yes, there will still be some circumstances that push you, and to rise to the occasion, you must bring that rare combination of talent and discipline. Then your potential will get results.

Saturday, July 13, 2019 (The Day of Taken Opportunity)

Confront your challenges and problems head on. There is no point sidestepping them, or bobbing and weaving, or pretending they’re not there. Your challenges are what build you up, even if there are moments when they seem to tear you down. In the end, this process makes you a more solid person, connected to your inner truth, and courageous enough to speak the truth to anyone. Make sure your ears are open as well. Not everything everyone says contains vital wisdom, but it just might, and it’s worth listening.

— By Eric Francis

Sunday, July 14, 2019 (The Day of the Convincing Storyteller)

Remember that relationships and collaborations of all kinds work best when everyone involved is honest and willing to do their share. Don’t wait for others to set the example; make sure you’re holding up your side of whatever agreements you’ve made. Even if you’re not used to taking the lead, this is your moment to do precisely that, and show who you really are. This will help give those around you the space to do the same, to your mutual benefit and enhancement.

— By Amy Elliott

Monday Morning Horoscope #184 for July 8, 2019 | By Amy Elliott

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Currently you seem to be emerging from a long struggle with your past — whether represented by ideas or by actual people — into a new sense of your individuality, freedom and power. This will almost certainly feel daunting to a degree, at least to begin with, as all unfamiliar territory does. In part you can address that by recalling everything you’ve been through to get here. That took determination and guts. Now, you owe it to yourself to enjoy your hard-won gifts to the fullest, and take up your new opportunities boldly. The storm is over; leave it decidedly behind you, and step right into the sunshine.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You seem to be feeling adventurous or curious; ready to explore new ideas, a different mindset, or perhaps literally fresh turf. With Mercury having just stationed retrograde, this may also involve revisiting and reviewing theories you’ve held to in the past. Be sure to keep an open mind; be wary in particular of reacting against a position — that is, taking the directly opposing view out of repulsion. Even if what you’re left with is uncertainty, it would be wise to hold space for that, at least over the next month. Don’t reach a conclusion unless you have reason to be sure, and even then leave room for questioning.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — As you read this, your ruler Mercury either has just stationed retrograde or is in the process of doing so. This is almost always a useful reminder about why it does no good to trust absolutes, which human beings are in the habit of doing. Nuanced views are far more reflective of reality. Even if all the evidence seems to be pointing in one direction, now is not the time to draw firm conclusions — it’s highly likely that things are not quite what they seem. This is especially true where your self-confidence is concerned; your full array of talents and resources is likely to be far broader than you estimate.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — During the next few weeks you’ll want to consolidate the gains you’ve lately achieved in the face of what may have seemed like incredible odds. You might be tempted to keep pushing for more, or to revert to former habits; either of which could risk the ground you worked so hard to win. Now is not the time for big moves. Recognize the value in what you actually have, including your own abilities and learned skills; these in particular are precious resources. Be careful to use your time, energy and money wisely, and to avoid situations in which you risk feeling depleted or drained. There’s only one of you.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Pay attention to your mood this week, especially if you find yourself getting anxious or stressed, or feeling under the weather. Keep an eye on the demands others make on your time and energy. If you notice you’re being pulled in several different directions, that’s a clue you likely need to slow down and take it a little (or a lot) easier. Generosity and willingness to help are wonderful qualities, though supporting one’s own wellbeing is a crucial component, as is being able to enjoy what you do. You have an opportunity in the days ahead to restructure your daily life some. Make sure you are included in it.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Mercury stationing retrograde in the most sensitive area of your chart is your cue to tackle some deep issues. This is very likely to involve your individuality and the boundaries you draw between yourself and the rest of the world; in recent times there has perhaps been a good deal of blurring, and you may feel like it’s a struggle to assert your autonomy, regardless of your actual circumstances. As an adult, however, the power to do that is ultimately in your hands and yours alone. Nobody else can clear the way for you, so be bold. You need to get used to taking up space.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — It may be necessary to revisit a recent change in your career path. If this means retracing some of your steps, or things not turning out quite as expected, don’t be too hard on yourself. You might feel frustrated, though this is an ongoing process. True, the recognition you’re growing toward has been a long time coming, and may well be overdue. However, this is partly about getting yourself into the right frame of mind, so that when the moment comes you can seize it accordingly. Until then, make use of the resources you already have, and keep focused on the work before you.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Your charts describe a sense of impatience to reach for something you want, though at present it seems just beyond your grasp. There may be a waiting game, or one or two challenges to surpass, before you make it to your desired destination. As Mercury is in the process of changing direction, you might also receive new information over the next few weeks; this could lead to you altering course likewise, if only slightly. Now is perhaps a good time to examine how you feel, whether anything’s changed, or if there was an angle you missed. Even if nothing needs modifying, you will better understand the nature of what you’re seeking and why.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Mercury retrograde often serves as a good general reminder not to rush into a specific course of action, though this is good advice at any time, and is especially so for you now. In particular, any feelings of panic or anxiety are highly unlikely to reflect the true situation, so it would help if you don’t let them govern your actions. Keep a clear head, and consult with others if you need to ground your ideas. Applying logic and strategic thinking should be useful. Be sure of your footing before you take any major steps, and don’t underestimate the value of effort, preparation and staying informed.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Being honest about how you feel can sometimes require an act of courage, especially if you’re embarrassed or worried about the consequences. Yet locking your emotions inside yourself rarely makes for an easier path. For sure, the current astrology suggests it’s useful to convey what you need to express with consideration, measure and compassion, though that is different from toning down the actual content of the message. You need to open up, particularly to loved ones; and if it’s assistance or care you’re seeking, also ensure you’re actually willing to receive it. Let people help you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Recent experiences are causing you to re-evaluate certain aspects of your philosophy, which may turn into a little information-gathering project in the weeks to come. Part of this may arise from specific annoyances you encounter on a regular basis: the kind that have a tendency to add up if they’re not addressed. Asking yourself why you put up with these irritants may lead you on a trail of consciousness to pondering some rather larger questions. Let this process flow naturally at its own speed, and be careful not to shut down any apparent complexities or contradictions. The time for resolution will come.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You seem to be developing a lot of bold and interesting ideas, which are fueling the flame of your inspiration. Take steps to ensure they’re all recorded, and don’t dismiss any out of hand. Distillation and decisions will come later; for now, leave the microphone with the Muses and let them speak uninterrupted. You may have revelations during this time about matters that have puzzled you; again, give them room to sit and simmer, and avoid rushing to conclusions. Your mind is rarely this fertile; you need only keep it open and alert, and the waters of life and the creative force will flow in.

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