With Mercury Retrograde, A Week of Retro News

Dear Friend and Reader:

You may already be feeling this — Mercury is slowing to its station direct in early Aquarius. This is exact at 9:57 am EST (14:57 UTC) on Wednesday, Feb. 11. Mercury turned to retrograde motion on Jan. 21, right after the Aquarius New Moon. Mercury is stationing direct while in a conjunction to the brightest asteroid, Vesta.

Composite image of the Leo Full Moon conjunct Jupiter in Leo, photographed by Rick Moore.

As the next few days progress, I suggest you take things one step at a time, check your facts, and not make any promises. Mercury stationing has a shuffling effect, and it’s very difficult to predict the influence that it will have. The most salient property to work with at the time of a Mercury station is that of reversal. This follows the image of Mercury reversing directions.

You may also find yourself having an opinion contrary to that of a group. This is not such a big deal; you are entitled. You may not be able to change the group, but at least you know where you stand. This is vital in the process of individuating. You are allowed to have your own opinion — and what is interesting is that you’re likely to have credibility with those in authority. That is different from changing anyone’s mind.

The retrograde phase included a somewhat ominous, impressive Leo Full Moon, and spectacular activity in Pisces, which is not over. Indeed, we are about to experience a beautiful aspect — Venus conjunct Chiron in Pisces. Mars was recently conjunct Chiron; both Venus and Mars will soon move on to Aries, and have their first of three meetings this year, both fresh out of their initiations with Chiron.

Activity in Pisces is lavishly creative and mystical; Venus and Mars conjunct Chiron offers the essence of erotic healing and conscious sharing. It is, at the least, about being fully aware of your eroticism, what you want to do with it, and what your healing agenda is.

This is highlighted by Mercury retrograde making a conjunction to Vesta today (Thursday, Feb. 5), and with a second one coming on March 4 when Mercury is in direct motion. Vesta holds space for what you might think of as rituals — a clear space where something can come through. This is not necessarily ritual in the formal sense but rather that of opening yourself up to new experience in a conscious way.

Meanwhile, this has been a strange week. When the astrology gets interesting, I like to use the news as a divination device. Mercury retrograde can dredge up events and revelations from the past. This week there were three of them.

We learned that Harper Lee, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird, will be publishing her second novel, called Go Set a Watchman.

Watchman predates Mockingbird as a written work, and the manuscript was presumed to be lost. But someone turned up a copy, and it’s scheduled for publication on July 14.

Harper Lee in days of yore.

Lee, who is 88, must be pretty excited about this. I was not surprised to discover that she has her Sun in Taurus, one of my favorite signs for artists. It grants persistence and staying power, and that unusual mix of solid and sensitive.

Also in retro news, Brian Williams, the famous NBC anchor, has admitted that he wasn’t really involved in a helicopter incident in Iraq 12 years ago. His recent version of the story was that he was on board an aircraft that was struck by enemy fire and forced down. He was actually in the helicopter behind the one that was hit.

“I think the continued viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area — and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize,” USA Today quotes him as saying.

This is disturbing because he’s so well respected, and so likeable. But it’s also a stark reminder that what we think of as “the news” is a work of fiction. This may seem harsh, but every news reporter knows they are selectively making up a version of events and presenting that as the truth. Important things are left out of every story, often on purpose; trivial things might be included; sometimes things that never happen are presented as absolutely real. I would remind you of the too-true truism, “Truth is the first casualty of war.”

In another retro episode, Oskar Groening, a 93-year-old former Auschwitz worker, will go on trial in Germany as an accessory to 425,000 murders. The website DW.de explained it: “Groening, a former member of the Nazi Waffen-SS, was employed at the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland from the age of 21. Known as the ‘bookkeeper’, he was responsible for counting the banknotes gathered from prisoners’ luggage and passing them on to the SS authorities in Berlin.”

The SS was the elite Nazi guard that ran the concentration camp system in Germany and Eastern Europe between 1933 and 1945.

“I was ashamed for decades and I am still ashamed today,” Groening was quoted as saying. “Not of my acts, because I never killed anyone. But I offered my aid. I was a cog in the killing machine that eliminated millions of innocent people.”

NBC News’s Brian Williams explains how he made that little mistake.

Perhaps the strangest incident of the week involved the Metro North train collision with a car, during Tuesday’s Full Moon. This was in the town of Valhalla, New York, on Tuesday night. Someone named Ellen Brody ended up with her SUV on the train tracks, with the railroad crossing gate down and the lights and bells going off, warning of an approaching train.

“As soon as I see the gate go down, I back up,” Richard Hope told The New York Times. “I say, ‘She’s going to back up as soon as she sees what’s going on’. ” But instead, he recounted, Brody calmly got out of her car. She walked around the back, pushed up against the gate and found it wedged firmly in place. Then she got back into her car, and the train struck her vehicle at nearly full speed. Six people including Brody were killed in the incident.

Nobody can explain this. One would think that everyone knows that with the gates down and lights flashing, a train is coming. But she acted as if she was totally disconnected from reality.

Ah yes, one last news item. The measles scare. Apparently a bunch of people caught the measles at Disneyland recently. This set off a media panic attack. Because it happened in California, a state that allows people to choose not to get their children immunized, there was a diversity of blame spread around, including against all those crunchy types who have fallen under the thrall of Mothering magazine and are paranoid about vaccines.

However, some Republicans and Tea Partiers seem fond of acknowledging the dangers of vaccines, and of the right of people to choose. Two of them spoke up — N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, and Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky. They then had to walk back their comments and pretend to be in favor of vaccination.

Aftermath of incident where Metro North train hit a vehicle Tuesday evening, moments after the Leo Full Moon. Photo by Christopher Gregory.

That, in turn, was followed by an impressive propaganda campaign for the measles vaccine — from left-leaning media, MSNBC and The Daily Show. Viewers were treated to a barrage of “information” which I could sum up as saying: If you don’t think that vaccination is a perfectly fine idea, you’re an idiot, and by the way there is just one side of the story.

In other words, because the link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism was supposedly debunked, there is no issue at all. However, there is indeed an MMR scandal, including former employees of Merck, and a former CDC official, coming forward and saying that there has been misconduct and deception around the vaccine. This issue is well developed and well documented. You can read a good summary on the Canadian Huff Po.

The topic deserves a whole article, and I plan to do that soon. It is both astonishing and a typical example of what happens fairly regularly in any field requiring the safety testing of medicines or chemicals. What I can say here is that treating this story as if there is just one side is a total put-on. It is laughable. And it is criminal at the same time.

Among the most important revelations from this affair is a fabricated effectiveness rating of the MMR vaccine. In other words, whistleblowers have produced documents saying that it’s less effective than Merck has repeatedly claimed.

There are so many questions surrounding the current measles incident and the associated vaccination propaganda campaign that it would boggle any reasonable person’s mind. For example, do we have any data at all on how many of the people who got the measles were in fact immunized? Do we have any data on the strain of measles that’s going around, and its relationship to the vaccine?

Experts agree — vaccines are good for you and your kids.

Do we have any data at all? The problem with things that are presented as perfectly safe is that they never are. There is always an incidence level, known as risk level. So many people will get sick or die from every chemical or medication, no matter how safe. None of the news reports that I saw even vaguely allude to this.

Then there is what’s called the issue of synergistic effects. When chemicals interact, there is often an increased incidence level, and that is often unpredictable. Perhaps that’s because synergistic effects are rarely studied or acknowledged. This may, in turn, be complicated by the number of chemicals present in any human body from the moment of birth — a frightening number of chemicals at levels with known effects.

Right now, kids get a lot of vaccines in a very short time, beginning at three days old. By two years old, American kids may receive up to 24 vaccines, and sometimes receive five in one visit to the doctor. Knowing what I know about chemical and pharmaceutical firms, and about chemicals and some drugs, that just does not sound like a good idea.

There are many, many sides to this story — but we’re only hearing one of them, which is that vaccines are great and anyone who believes they might not be is a fool.

It’s sad to see people with the intelligence of Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart go along with this so blithely. But then, television is largely sponsored by drug companies these days. I guess you can’t blame them.

Meanwhile, keep Mercury in mind this weekend and into next week. Live one day at a time. Pay attention and please listen to your intuition.


Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 #1035 | By Eric FrancisAries (March 20-April 19) — What is your ideal concept of a group? And if those people got together, where would it be? Most group activities have shifted to the Internet. Your chart describes you planning some kind of collective activity, designed with a specific purpose (rather than only recreational). I suggest you plan on the small side. And keep it original, and a bit secluded. You might think of this as a gathering of people who speak the same language, which might be the common ground of science, literature, art or technology. Imagine if you had the opportunity to fully express and explore some unusual idea with people who clearly understood it. Think of it as a sacred space for that particular interest, no matter how odd or unusual, with the result being a moment of freedom to consider and share your ideas. Try it out, and keep it real (in three-dimensional space rather than online).

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Venus in Pisces is working its way toward a conjunction with Chiron, the planet of healing and awareness. The combination of these three factors looks spectacular, as if you get to reveal or express yourself in some unusual way. The feeling described by this aspect is bold and vulnerable, yet because it’s in Pisces, it has a public quality, extending outward. It would be ideal for some kind of musical or theatrical performance, art exhibition or coming-out party. Even if you’ve got nothing special planned, at least two factors will follow you around. One is that you will have some more-potent-than-average impact or influence on the people around you. The other is that you get some out-of-the-ordinary confirmation of your talent, such as getting a glimpse of what it feels like to truly be recognized. With that in mind, turn it up and shine out.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Mercury is gradually slowing to a halt in Aquarius, and Mercury retrograde will end on Feb. 11. Normally this would arrive with some turbulence, and you might have to do some rearranging of your agenda next week. However, this event looks more like an opportunity to focus one specific long-range plan. The idea is not to plot out your whole life, but rather to proceed with a specific focus. The way this looks, there is one particular intention that you’ve had, and which has resisted coming to fruition, or been hung up on some issue you don’t understand. If you recognize this description, the thing that the situation is awaiting is your commitment. When you make up your mind and devote yourself fully, you will experience greater faith in your plans. And you may have the feeling that providence, or some power greater than yourself, responds to you in kind. Keep that dialog going.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may feel like you need more of something, or more space, or more time. What you’re likely to find is space opening up within you. Yet to notice that, you would need to focus your attention inward. Think of this as opening up a sanctuary in your mind. That becomes the space where you are the host of external reality. Imagine it’s a room where you invite the people you know and the events you perceive. As you do this, an exchange may open up; something that seemed impossible manifests for you to experience. The more consciously you hold open your inner space, the more you will open up the potential for exchange with others. As for time, take it slowly right now. Part of the sensation of time going quickly is the tendency of modern humans to rush. Cooperation will help; many hands do indeed make light work.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Though yours is a mutable sign, subject to frequent changes, you need to guard against rigid emotions. These are most likely to arrive in the form of being self-judgmental. You might respond to that as digging in and claiming your right to say no — which is indeed your cosmic privilege. You might want to claim, at the same time, your right to say yes, and to say maybe. I suggest you guide your choices in a way that keeps your options open rather than narrows them down. The way to do this is to recognize when you’re judging yourself and consciously choose to let that go. The thing about judgment is that it’s connected to guilt, and guilt is the feeling of being convicted without a trial. If you are fair to yourself, you will see your options. If you forgive yourself you will be able to breathe, and choose among them.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You may be feeling a strong pull in your own direction, which is to say, away from relationships. Yet there is something in one particular connection that keeps you coming back, despite the tension you may be feeling there; despite the tendency of this relationship to shake you up. The direction to go is neither toward nor away — it’s in a third direction, which is a space of healing. Healing is likely to feel submissive and pleasurable, as if you’re releasing yourself to a process of some kind. This may feel like being carried, or transported. You may have the sensation of journeying deep into yourself to retrieve something that you may have lost contact with at some point earlier in your life. When you find it, you will discover a familiar blend of the sensual and the mystical, which is your true home.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — It will be easy to lead or follow a partner into some rich creative and erotic territory. You may notice that one of you has the capability of going into a state of mind or of feelings that the other does not have such ready access to — but which can be found through the miracle of partnering. This will also work in solo situations, as your inner male and inner female energies have rarely been so wide-open and full spectrum. Allow your imagination to go free. Think of these experiences as experiments, as art projects, as adventures. Let yourself be led out of your typical patterns of sexuality and relationships into something that is unfamiliar and feels daring. What you do will reach close to the core of who you are and influence every other aspect of your life.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may be noticing that the more emotional side of your nature has been coming out lately, and it’s about to reach another peak. To my eyes this looks like an introspective creative space opening up within you. This is the part of the process of art or music that’s the most internal, prior to the actual expression. You are in the alchemical dimension where your inner movements and revelations give rise to what you might let out. Honor the inner mystery of creation as it begins on the level of feeling and emotion. Notice the rich spectrum of memories and experiences that might give rise to. Then allow that profoundly personal process to move you into formulating some new idea or form of expression. Keep this close to yourself for now. You do not need to share it, nor are you under any obligation to. Yet it remains yours to share, to offer, and to experience yourself.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — There may not be words for what you’re feeling, though you would benefit from finding ways to express it. One contradiction might be that your experience is too deep for words, or too beautiful, or too distant from them. That is the time to find the words, which you may be searching for. You may have the feeling that words will diminish the depth of what you’re feeling or reduce the beauty, or pain, or passion, to an object form. That is a superstition I suggest you challenge. There is something unusual that you seem ready to express, to relate and to communicate about. It’s not new, however — it’s something you’ve been thinking about, feeling and experiencing for years, and which has recently come into a new degree of focus. If you are searching for or struggling with words, I have a suggestion — pictures will help.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Mercury is slowing to a station in your sign this week. It’s been retrograde since late January, and the whole process has been in Aquarius. Here’s how I would tell the story, based on the chart: You’ve been in search of something you may have forgotten or abandoned. That something is a way you used to relate to yourself, and it was a beautiful thing; well, not a thing, but a space where you could relate to yourself in a certain way. For example, it might have been the state of mind wherein you used to keep a journal. The journal was important, but the devotion to doing so, the ritual, the honoring of the inner space, was the real gift. It may have been a yoga practice, or a spiritual practice, or even reading. It is something done in a designated space, which served as a personal ashram. It looks more mental or intellectual than it does physical, though it could be either or both. You are very close to that space right now; you are right at the door or you may be standing inside.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — These have been a bold few weeks for you. You are experiencing what it means to have Chiron and Neptune in your sign. Though these are long-term transits, and somewhat well developed by now, they are being lit up by the presence of Venus and Mars. This whole constellation of planets has been offering you a look at your actual potential, and the opportunity to feel what it’s like to be yourself in full-spectrum form. Mercury, for its part, is slowing to a station in a sensitive corner of your chart, which is adding a depth of inner vision unusual even for you. Here is how I would sum things up: You are learning to engage the physical with the spiritual. You are bringing what is normally etheric or astral into some solid form, and you are doing so in a way that’s revealing of what is possible: the beauty of translating your inner world into tangible form. The beauty of real.

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