The Mercury Retrograde Blizzard Olympics

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury storm and retrograde have arrived on the East Coast with what seems like the new version of the Winter Olympics — how many winter storms can you cram into two weeks?

Condition normal at Newark International Airport. It’s amazing there’s enough de-icing chemical to go around. Photo by Ted S. Warren.

While it’s normal to have weather events during the winter, this has been a little strange, and it’s been disruptive. A combination of blizzards and ice storms have frosted the eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine, resulting in disruptions to every facet of life since the Mercury storm phase began about two weeks ago.

This has been complicated by poor judgment calls in at least two cities, one in Atlanta during an event on Jan. 28, resulting in a civil disaster. Thousands of people were stranded on highways for up to 18 hours. Many abandoned their cars and walked miles home in a scene that rivaled something from a Stephen King novel.

Then on Thursday, New York City’s decision to leave public schools open in the face of an approaching blizzard created a wave of chaos when the city closed schools midday, forcing many parents to leave work in the middle of the storm and retrieve their kids. This was likely the result of the city’s new and inexperienced mayor, Bill DeBlasio, not quite knowing how to handle things.

NBC’s meteorologist Al Roker caused a fuss when he tweeted, “I knew this am @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCSchools would close schools. Talk about a bad prediction. Long range DiBlasio forecast: 1 term,” managing to spell the mayor’s name wrong. The mayor responded on TV by saying being a weather forecaster is not exactly running New York City; Roker responded on Twitter and this story became a focal point of the day.

Now as the temperature creeps up above freezing throughout the region, many areas will face flooding.

Cleaning up NYC on Thursday night. Photo by Andrew Kelly.

Meanwhile, thousands of flights have been canceled, a situation that ripples out across the entire air travel system as equipment is stranded in snowed-in cities and arriving flights have to be diverted elsewhere.

While it may be difficult to make a causal connection between Mercury retrograde and these events, they are happening at the same time.

That is astrology — it’s always about a combination of celestial factors and mundane ones, and their results — in this case, disruptions to transportation and commerce, two Mercury-ruled areas of life.

Meanwhile, the West Coast of the United States is still facing a serious drought. This goes back at least to last July and is just starting to be acknowledged outside the region in a meaningful way. Many cities are on water rationing and it’s unclear how the Central Valley of California is going to keep producing so much of the food that the country depends on, if these conditions persist.

There were some rainstorms in Northern California earlier this month, but not enough to make a difference. This is all part of a pattern of extreme weather events that are happening in many parts of the world, which technology has little power to solve.

Metaphors of the Aquarius Age

Tonight is the Leo Full Moon, and I have some thoughts about that. But first, while the Sun is still in Aquarius, a comment on the Age of Aquarius.

No two astrologers will agree on when this begins (or began). But we are definitely at the cusp of the (prior) Pisces age and the (forthcoming) Aquarius age. Evidence of the Pisces age still having its effects is that belief trumps reason. Denial is still considered a viable way of life. If someone mentions the cost of this perspective, more denial is the supposed answer.

Illustration by Lizanne Webb.

Evidence of the Aquarius age involves patterns. Once a pattern is established, it’s very difficult to get out of it. Pattern makers such as advertisers and people who create political memes know this. Notice how everyone with some power interest tries to crystallize a pattern. That is the main virtue of Aquarius and also its most serious problem.

More evidence is that technology is creating our society faster than we create it, and faster than we can create ourselves. That too is a pattern. Apropos of Aquarius, this is reaching into our personal relationships and group dynamics. Whole generations of people are being raised who would rather text than talk, and who are too intimidated by other people to have a real conversation.

One reason we have to watch this pattern-crystallization thing is that it can create situations that don’t work, where the only solution is a collapse of some kind.

This is why there’s always talk of systems breakdown. The systems we create are generally not flexible enough to accommodate much change, so we naturally assume that they will build momentum and energy and collapse under their own weight.

This includes mental systems — thought patterns, habits and so on. And with the Full Moon in Leo opposing a cluster of planets in late Aquarius, many people are feeling this in some form now. It might be manifesting as the need to change; or as the sensation of imminent change; it might feel like a fear that you must change, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

Or you might have the feeling that if you change one thing, you will have to change everything else (that, by the way, is a vast culture-wide theme).

Mercury, Sun, Nessus in Aquarius

Mercury is retrograde. That started one week ago in early Pisces. Mercury has now retrograded back into Aquarius, where it’s about to make a triple conjunction, with the Sun and with a centaur planet called Nessus.

Nessus has been in Aquarius since 2005, and this is the year when it begins its transition into Pisces. For this Full Moon, however, we have Mercury and the Sun conjunct Nessus, opposed by the Moon.

Illustration by Lizanne Webb.

Think of the combination of factors in Aquarius as some strange sequence of events putting stress on a complex system.

Once only dealt with by electrical engineers and science fiction authors, we are now all basically supervising complex systems, to the point where we require sophisticated computers to keep up with our correspondence and maintain our schedules.

And many people experience lives so complex, they seem to be on the brink of a system collapse at any moment. Do you have that sensation of waiting for the one thing that will push the whole system too far?

One thing about Nessus is that it addresses the theme of consequences. Nessus can be a study of causes and effects. In Aquarius, we have the theme of group dynamics. Nessus plus Aquarius can seem cold and impersonal — and then all of a sudden, Mercury and the Moon get into the act.

The message here — if you are feeling overwhelmed, pause and examine your options. Get a sense of your time constraints (an Aquarius factor, accentuated by a square to Saturn) and work within them.

Notice the ways in which you may be locked into thought patterns. If you’re experiencing fear, then start to uncouple your thoughts from one another, break the issues down and take them one at a time.

You want to get synergy on your side. That’s the principle of “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” But sometimes you have to take the parts one by one and see what they’re really about before you can see the whole scenario for what it is.

And if you find yourself up in the middle of the night, do something creative with your technology.


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, #987 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Avoid seeming full of your own power or making anything about you unnecessarily, especially at work. You don’t want to become the issue, whatever the issue may be. That would make it difficult to maintain any authority or discipline at all. However, factors in your chart are tempting you to keep the focus on yourself. If you are aware of this tendency it will be easier to address it; so consider awareness the first step. From there, I suggest asking people their viewpoint and listening between the lines for where they are coming from. Take all of this information on board before making any decisions. You are not under pressure to act at the moment, and you are on notice to make your decisions deliberately and meticulously. To do that, you need reliable data, not just hunches. Then you need to choose carefully when to decide and when to implement your decision. Till then, proceed slowly, and keep your ears on.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Be on the lookout for influences designed to confuse or disrupt, into which you might wander unwittingly. Actually, you’ll be able to see these things from a distance if you look up and away from your feet as you walk; then you can take some other direction. Speaking of, I suggest you refrain from discussing longterm plans with those who are not your actual friends. Without veering into paranoia, notice the strategies and agendas of the people around you, and make careful note of them. At the moment, you’re susceptible to negative influences, and the ideas of those whose faith in themselves has been injured can have an impact on you. I suggest, therefore, you focus on spending time with people whose viewpoint is creative and positive — who are doing life-affirming things and who strive to include others rather than compete with them. Elitism has its appeal, but it turns out to be toxic. Thankfully, there are alternatives.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Mercury has retrograded back into Aquarius, which has taken some of the pressure off of a professional situation that seemed like it might run out of control. I suggest you remember (rather than forget) what you learned during the past week or so. The situation or something like it is bound to surface again sometime in the next month or two, and you want to be prepared how to deal with it when it does. That includes knowing what to do with those who play fast and loose with the truth, those who deceive in order to gain position and reputation and those who wear so much makeup they need to dunk their head in witch hazel. If you want to be real, and if you want to live a life of truth, you need to be clever, and you need to use your considerable knowledge. And at the moment, you need to know when to make your move, which won’t be for a few more weeks.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Take initiative on a financial matter and you will be able to break an annoying deadlock. Don’t be deceived by how complex someone else’s negotiating position is, or by how rigid they seem to be. That is largely a ruse; it looks like at least half of what they’re saying isn’t true. Further, you can be pretty sure that someone trying to pull a fast one on you is presently dealing with the results of many such situations in the past. That said, stick to the truth and clarity of your own position. Don’t say you’re right — present the facts that demonstrate that truth. It’s likely that whoever this is will make some attempt to distract or divert you, but simply stick to the simple reality of the situation. As far as timing is concerned, present your viewpoint that this is an immediate matter, then give anyone else involved until Feb. 28 to respond with the appropriate action.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Avoid doom and gloom, worst-case scenario thinking — or at least be aware if such thoughts are dancing through your mind. That will help you choose something else. You are picking up on something larger than you, much larger, something present on a planetary scale. This is true no matter how personal it may feel. Yet on the personal level there is plenty you can do, in addition to monitoring your own mind and addressing any boundary breaches (whether by someone else, or by you) as soon as possible. Maintain your personal integrity, for one thing, both setting an example to others and holding them to a basic minimum. At the same time, be conscious of your use of technology, remembering that all these gadgets that surround us are sold as toys but in fact are tools that can do harm as well as good. Remember that as you use them and you will be doing your part to solve a much larger problem.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You may feel like you’re under some pressure that you don’t understand and cannot identify the source of. This may be showing up as you feeling like you have more problems than you’ll ever be able to solve. I suggest you avoid ‘fix it’ mode, whatever form that may take. The thing to do first is to observe, and the thing to observe first is your mind and its patterns and thought forms. This is the origin of the situation. You are in one of those spaces where your thoughts are creating what seems to be your reality. This is often the case, though it’s not usually as obvious as it is now. Consider yourself on an expedition to find some deception that you were pressured into believing as a child, or that was given to you as an unbending truth. Once you get to that core false idea, you will be able to see how influential it is — and then make a decision what to do about that.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — We live on a lonely planet — one inhabited by more than seven billion people. That being the case, the loneliness must be a product of consciousness, regulated by a diversity of internal factors. Most of those are emotional. One thing you’re in the process of doing is carving out more inner emotional space for yourself, which is closely related to dismantling the influences of early caregivers and family patterns that you know have locked you into a kind of crypt. You are, stone by stone, feeling by feeling, dismantling this inner environment. The thing to remember is how this is bigger than you. It’s about what was done to you, and the ways in which the distant past was imposed on you without your having a choice in the matter. Now you are discovering that you do have a choice, but that discovery is coming at a cost. The cost is going through the feelings, recognizing your situation and taking appropriate action.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Friday and this weekend you get a clear line of sight on some of the material that’s going to come up when Mars stations retrograde on March 1. The information will come across more as an FYI than a warning; more of a ‘to do’ list rather than a ‘do or die’ list. You have time to clear many small matters off of your agenda before Mars stations retrograde, so that you can focus on the more important things when the time comes. Much of what you will be focusing on through the duration of the retrograde are matters of mental and psychological balance. This is what’s called inner work. I suggest you set your life up to accommodate this, as much as possible. I know it’s difficult to have time for anything, though from the look of your charts, you will be drawn into handling some of the deeper issues that have taken up residence in your life, and if you focus on them you will be able to make some adjustments and grow through them. The sooner you start the better.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Jupiter, the official Sagittarius planet, is holding a long opposition to Pluto right now. It’s in a very strong sign, indeed, one of its favorites (Cancer), but being at the end of a long retrograde can feel like having key elements of your life on hold a little longer than you were planning. Meanwhile the opposition to Pluto is putting a focus on the ways in which you must evolve in order to get where you want to be going, so there’s a purpose for the pause — that being your opportunity for focus. To me this looks like taking up the emotional issues, particularly over-dependence and your struggle with independence, in your relationships. What’s the history of this subject, how have you handled it in the past and how are you handling it today? If you are tempted to think that this is an inconvenient time to approach this subject, I would say as an astrologer this is the most convenient time to take up the subject matter in the easiest and most direct possible way.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Do you have the idea that others are acting like selfish, childish brats? Your chart suggests you might have that impression. You might be mistaken, however. I suggest you listen for clues how others perceive you — they may have the impression that all you care about is yourself. This is not a formula for domestic happiness and tranquility. As the Leo Full Moon builds and comes to a peak on Friday, I suggest doing what you can to avoid any kind of showdown, and instead, listen for common ground. The emotional space you share is likely to come in the form of values, your underlying ideas about what is true and necessary. I believe that most conflicts are superficial; so too are most differences of opinion. The solution to any seeming disagreement is to go deeper, below the surface, and see what’s going on down under the deeps of the sea. It’s another world down there.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — I have seen a fear dynamic play out in couples, in particular the fear that someone is ‘too messed up’ to be happy in a relationship. Part of that involves experiencing others (including their partner) as being balanced or happy in contrast to the problems that one is experiencing inwardly. This dynamic is pushed pretty hard in a time when we’re always being convinced that others are more perfect than we are (a form of glamour). And it’s challenging in a time when there are plenty of factors and influences we need to deal with. Yet in our moment of history, there is little inclination to get help with one’s personal material, and a shortage of resources when someone does want to get help. That said, how are you feeling? Are you managing? Are you devoted to your healing? And if you are devoted, how are you expressing that? Don’t go it alone. Say how you feel, and ask for what you need. Open up and allow in the love.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Friday’s Full Moon will give you the gift of profound psychological insight. I suggest you apply it to your life, focus on the people you care about, and take in the information you need about what is motivating them. The chances are you will be right, and if you use that information, you will be able to make better judgment calls how to handle them. There’s so much crisis in the world right now, sometimes it seems like only a Pisces could look at it and not look away. Part of why you have this insight is because you’ve been compelled by various factors to get to know yourself in an unusually deep way. Yet most people squander this knowledge. I suggest you remember that Knowing Thyself is the most significant prerequisite for being able to function in the world, and for helping others. You have to do less than you think. Right now as the Full Moon peaks, I suggest you keep your focus inward, and seek ever-deeper self-understanding. You will have occasions to put that knowledge to the test.

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