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October 1, 2020 – Full Moon in Aries

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After last month’s Full Moon in Pisces, punctuated by dreamy, relaxed energy, we now have a Full Moon in Aries, which is all about the adrenaline rush. Prepare for the crash when this energy burns itself out! While Aries isn’t an easy placement for the Moon, there are benefits to this intensity.

Moon in Aries

The Moon in Aries makes me think of a little kid who has found a box of matches and is lighting every single one: emotions and feelings are sparked, quickly burn out, and another takes its place. This placement is all about instant gratification. The character of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is an excellent example of an Aries Moon in action.

Deena* is one of my closest friends and she has Moon in Aries. While she repeatedly calls herself lazy when it comes to cooking, it’s really impatience: she doesn’t want to spend her time preparing an elaborate meal, she wants food NOW and it better taste good and meet all her needs. Ever since we were angsty tweens, she’s been very clear about how she feels about all the nouns: people, places and things. Through knowing Deena (and a few Aries Sun natives, not to mention several Aries Moon natives), I’ve learned that Aries energy is fast and reactive, and excels in the 100-yard dash – but struggles to finish the marathon.

Full Moons occur in the sign opposing where the Sun is located at that time, creating a cosmic see-saw that can lead to disruption on the earthly plane. In today’s case, the opposition is between Aries and Libra, since the Sun moved into Libra on September 22, 2020. Aries is self-directed and seeks to satisfy its own needs first, while Libra is other-directed and wants to find satisfaction in its relationships with those around them. Today, Libra’s scales are heavily weighted by the Aries ram sitting on one side, angry and pouting because it can’t get its way, and Libra is exasperated because there’s no balance.

That said, the Full Moon in Aries provides an excellent opportunity to use the impetuous energy to our advantage and in healthy ways. Here are a few activities for the next couple of days.

Activities for the Aries Full Moon

Dance it out. Put on your favorite tunes and dance your ass off – it will burn off any frustration or anger and you may well forget why you were so mad to begin with.

Say what you want out loud. An old friend of mine used to joke about wanting to shout out her needs while standing in the middle of Nordstrom. While I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that (at least not without a mask and following social distancing rules), there is value in expressing what you want and need right now, AND also taking the time to differentiate between the two.

Wear red. Whether you’re decked out in crimson from head to toe, or wearing red underwear, you’re owning that Aries fire energy!

Crystals for the Aries Full Moon

You can place these crystals on your altar, if you have one, or in a prominent place in your home for 2-3 nights during the Aries Full Moon.

  • Bloodstone
  • Carnelian
  • Citrine

No matter what you opt to do to honor this Aries Full Moon, I hope you’ll find this energy burst to be useful in kicking off the last three months of 2020.

Want to try out my Full Moon Tarot Spread? Check it out here.

 

*not her real name

September 17, 2020 – New Moon in Virgo

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Today is a New Moon in Virgo: a moment when two feminine energies – the mother Moon and the virgin Virgo – join together to create an emotionally resonant bond.

Demeter, Greek goddess of agriculture, Greek goddess, Greek mythology
Attribution: Museo nazionale romano di palazzo Altemps / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)

I always think of the goddess Demeter in connection with Virgo. Demeter was the Greek goddess of agriculture and fertility, as well as health, childbirth and the harvest. Like the sign of Virgo, the virgin maid, Demeter was often depicted holding a sheaf of wheat.

Persephone, rape of Persephone, abduction of Persephone, Greek mythology
The Rape of Persephone by Luca Giordano

The most famous myth about Demeter involves the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, the lord of the underworld. She was so overcome with grief that fields went barren and famine ravaged the land. It wasn’t until Zeus helped negotiate Persephone’s visitation agreement between Demeter and Hades that she finally turned her attention back to the harvest, averting what would have been a huge catastrophe for humanity.

Demeter mourning Persephone (Evelyn de Morgan, 1906)

One could say that when the Moon is in Virgo, it’s like the reunion of Demeter and Persephone: mother and daughter come together for a short time to renew their connection, work the land, and plan for their next visit. In this case, that would be at the Full Moon in Virgo, which takes place on February 27, 2021. For us earth-dwellers, that means the goals and plans we make at this new moon will be at a key stage of their development in nearly six months’ time.

Image from The Story of Greece : told to boys and girls (1914) by Mary Macgregor

Moon in Virgo

When the Moon is in Virgo, it weds the Moon’s instincts for self-care and nurturing with Virgo’s love of ritual and routine. This placement feels emotionally met when it is focused on usefulness. It may not always seem particularly touchy-feely, but its goal is finding bliss in practical pursuits. The Virgo Moon is the mom who says, “If you make your bed in the morning, it will feel so much more comfy and inviting when you’re ready to go to sleep.” And once you take her advice, you discover she was right.

This New Moon in Virgo is about developing practical approaches to daily living that also feed the soul. Here are some areas where the Virgo New Moon encourages development, and a few concrete ideas on how to use this energy:

I hope this Virgo New Moon opens up some possibilities in how you organize and plan for your future!

Is Tarot part of your new moon rituals and activities?

Try out my New Moon Tarot Spread.

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Mars Retrograde Tuesdays

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Mars, the planet of action, ambition, anger and athleticism, turns retrograde on September 9, 2020 in the sign of Aries, one of two signs the Red Planet rules (the other sign is Scorpio). It will appear to travel backward in Aries through November 13, 2020. During this time, we can expect to see some halted plans; any forward momentum we had may be thwarted. This can affect our activities at work, home, and school.

Retrograde isn’t all that bad, though. Any time a planet is in retrograde motion, we are given an opportunity to shift our focus to more inward pursuits:

  • Reflection
  • Review
  • Revision
  • Reassessment

The focus of the inner work is based on the areas ruled by that planet. In the case of Mars, those areas include:

  • Physical activity
  • Ambition and goals
  • Passion, lust, and sex

In the same vein as Venus Retrograde Fridays, I suggest taking one day a week during the retrograde cycle to do work in these areas. Since Mars rules Tuesday, set aside some time that day for Mars Retrograde Tuesdays. Beginning with September 15, 2020 and ending with November 10, 2020, here are some Martian activities to try:

Move your body.
If you haven’t already been exercising regularly, now is the time to get back on the bike, lace up the running shoes, roll out the yoga mat, and/or dust off the treadmill. Don’t push yourself if energy is low – lowered stamina is possible during Mars retrograde – but a 30-minute walk will get your circulation going and your heart pumping. One caveat: if you have been sedentary for a long time, don’t start a vigorous new exercise regimen. Use this time to research different physical activities you might want to try, or talk with your health care provider about ideas.

Eat something spicy or grilled – or both!
Mars rules garlic, ginger, and peppers, so cook up some Szechuan stir-fry, a Thai or Indian curry, or a Mexican feast. (You can check out my recipe for homemade salsa here!) Since Mars also rules fire, a grilled entrée or side dish would be perfect for Tuesday dinners.

Channel your anger.
This year has provided more than enough opportunity for outrage – but how are you working with that anger? How has it been manifesting in your life: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Some ways to work through your anger include:

  • writing letters to the people/places/things that make you angry (and not sending them – remember, you’re processing this anger for your own personal reflection and to get them out of your system)
  • joining a protest (if you can do so safely)
  • contacting your local and state legislators to express your frustrations
  • signing and sharing petitions related to causes you feel passionate about

Assess your personal and professional goals. Mars likes to make things happen, but during a retrograde period, that drive to achieve and succeed may be thwarted. Sit down with paper & pen and write out your personal and professional goals. Where do you want to see yourself in a year? In five years? Now’s the time to see where you’re at and where you want to go.

What about Sex?!

Mars also rules passion, lust, and sex – and it’s those aspects that often make the headlines for Mars. During a Mars retrograde cycle your sex drive may be the complete opposite of what it usually is, or you may find yourself sexually frustrated with your partner. If you’re not sexually active, Mars retrograde may leave you feeling restless, unmotivated or dealing with a creative blockage (especially if you are an artist or writer).

How to deal with all of this pent up sexual energy? A few suggestions:

Remember this is temporary. Even if you are skeptical about astrology and its effects on daily living, our sex drive ebbs and peaks over time. Shift your attention to something else when the frustration gets overwhelming: exercise, singing or dancing may help.

Open the toy chest. Since retrograde cycles are about reviewing and reassessing the areas of life ruled by the retrograde planet, take time to review what gives you pleasure sexually – and that means open up your toy chest, buy some batteries and figure out what turns you on.

Talk with your partner. Emotions may be running hot while your libido isn’t, and that can definitely cause friction (and not the good kind, either). Open up conversations with your partner about your sex life: what you love about it, what you’d like to try out, what you’d like to work on making even better.

You’re not restricted to just Tuesdays for these Mars-centric activities, of course. Working through anger issues is good at any time, and exercising at least 3 times a week is ideal. But sometimes it helps to know that there’s one day a week devoted to specific self-care rituals, and that’s what Mars Retrograde Tuesday is all about. Make the most of it!

 

Mars, red planet, Mars Retrograde, mars retrograde Tuesdays, retrograde planets, retrograde, astrology

Image attributions:

By derivative work: QuartierLatin1968 (talk)Berlin_-_Brandenburger_Tor_-_Mars.jpg: Oliver Abels (SBT) – Berlin_-_Brandenburger_Tor_-_Mars.jpg, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74302639

Closeup of statue face
By Dosseman – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78185777

Planet
By ESA & MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0-igo, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56489423

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September 1-2, 2020 – Full Moon in Pisces

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The Pisces Full Moon happening on September 1, 2020 (or in the early hours of September 2, depending on your time zone) is a beautiful time to dream and reflect. We may feel more inclined toward emotional responses – tears close to the surface, for example, or moodiness – yet also feel receptive and softer than ever before. The Moon, which rules Cancer, a cardinal water sign, is more at home in Pisces, a mutable water sign, but it can easily get lost in the depths, or unable to maintain boundaries when necessary.

Moon in Pisces

When the Moon is in Pisces, it’s as if a spell has been cast over the collective, making us all a bit more tuned in to emotions and the subconscious desires of others. Some folks who have a highly developed intuition may feel extra sensitive during this time. Artists, writers and other creatives may feel overwhelmed with new ideas for projects. Dreams may be more prophetic or insightful. I like to imagine a Pisces Moon – especially this month’s Pisces Full Moon – as rising out of the ocean, soaking wet, with a neon blue octopus clinging to its craters.

Since I began studying astrology 20 years ago, I’ve come to know several people who were born when the Moon was in Pisces. They are dreamy souls, with an ability to see into the subconscious in ways that others cannot. They have incredible compassion and an innate understanding of humanity’s deepest needs. But these Pisces Moon natives also tend to get waterlogged, struggling to find solid footing in the real world.

At this point in 2020, the pandemic, protests, natural disasters and political activities around the world have lit up those areas where humanity is in need of massive change. We have experienced some collective grounding due to all these events and situations, and it’s caused immeasurable stress. This Full Moon in Pisces offers an opportunity for healing by allowing us to soften our gaze and dream a little. We get a chance to visualize what’s possible by tuning in to what unites us – and later using those visualizations to fuel practical, real-world solutions.

Here are some ideas for things you can do to channel this Pisces Full Moon energy. For optimal results, do these activities between Monday night and Thursday afternoon.

Activities for the Pisces Full Moon

  • Get wet. Dance outside in the rain, go for a swim, take a bath. Pisces and the Moon are both connected to water.
  • Visit a body of water. If you live close to a stream, river, lake, or ocean, the Pisces Full Moon is a wonderful time to visit and reflect on the role and meaning of water in your life, and give thanks for its existence.
  • Eat some seafood. Embrace your inner pescatarian and have a meal of fish and shellfish.
    • Vegetarians/vegans can enjoy cauliflower, cabbage, cheese, cucumbers, melon, mushrooms, pumpkins or turnips – these are all Moon-ruled foods.
  • Start a dream journal. This journal could include a daily log of your dreams, as well as a place where you can explore the dreams you want to manifest in the world. For tips on recording your dreams, check out this article.
  • Stare at the clouds. If the weather permits where you live, take a blanket outside, lie down and watch the clouds roll by.
  • Take care of your feet. Pisces rules the feet, so a Pisces Full Moon is a great time to pamper them. Give yourself a pedicure or foot massageor give one to your partner. Even simply washing your feet and following up with lotion or cream can be incredibly soothing.

Colors for the Pisces Full Moon

You can wear these colors in your clothing, jewelry, makeup or nail polish.

  • Iridescent and opalescent shades
  • Silvery grey
  • White

Crystals for the Pisces Full Moon

You can place these crystals on your altar, if you have one, or in a prominent place in your home for 2-3 nights during the Pisces Full Moon.

  • Chrysolite or peridot
  • Coral
  • Moonstone

Want to try out my Full Moon Tarot Spread? Check it out here.

new moon in leo, new moon, leo moon, astrology

August 18, 2020 – New Moon in Leo and New Moon Tarot Spread

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Today marks a New Moon in Leo. New Moons are “no moon,” meaning that it is not visible because of its alignment with the Sun. Yet despite its cloaked nature, this moon phase is associated with the power of a fresh start. Farmers who follow moon phases for planting use the New Moon to plant annual flowers or fruits and vegetables that grow above ground, such as corn, tomatoes, squashes and melons.

We can use this same energy in our personal development by using the New Moon to plant seeds that we wish to grow. Determining what we’ll plant depends on the zodiac sign in which the New Moon happens, as the Moon will be Full in this same sign in six months’ time, when we harvest what we planted.

Moon in Leo

When the Moon is in Leo, it combines the emotional, intuitive, home-loving characteristics of the Moon with Leo’s loyalty, creativity and sense of drama. Whoever coined the phrase “go big or go home” may well have been a Leo Moon. This placement wants love and comfort, but also wants a controlled, organized environment in which they are in charge. Prepare to hear the lunar lion roar when it’s happy, excited, amused or feeling playful. But when a Leo Moon feels badly hurt, it may not do much at all.

When I was a kid, my mom often said to me, “If someone hurts your feelings, say ‘ouch.’” She wasn’t a student of astrology, but it was good advice for me, as I have a Leo Moon. There have been many times I’ve felt hurt or betrayed by someone’s behavior, but will come home to lick my wounds rather than publicly call out the person. Above all else, a Leo Moon has pride, and unless circumstances force the issue, they will exhibit a controlled emotional response.

This New Moon in Leo encourages us to plant seeds in the areas of:
• Creative pursuits
• Emotional vulnerability
• Leading with heart, not head
• Acknowledging our gifts, talents and skills

With this in mind, try out my New Moon Tarot Spread to gain clarity and insight in these aspects of your life.

New Moon Tarot Spread

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This New Moon Tarot Spread is one I began using earlier this year during my new moon rituals. It is designed to help you discover the seeds that need planting at this point in time, so that when the full moon in Leo occurs on January 28, 2021, you can reap a bounteous harvest.

Shuffle the cards and cut the deck as many times as you feel you need. As you shuffle, take several deep breaths and center your thoughts on yourself and your desire for deeper knowledge and foresight.

Lay out the cards in rows of 3 cards each.

1. Where you are right now
2. What influences you
3. What you have released since the last new moon
4. What “seeds” (your goals and plans) need to be planted
5. How you can nurture the growth of your goals and plans
6. Other resources that are available to you during this cycle

Tips on Making the Most of Your Reading
  • Write it down. I like to record my readings in my journal, adding any notes or interpretations on the reading in a contrasting ink color. Before I begin the reading, I write down my current state of mind.
  • Take your time. Schedule a time to do your reading when you won’t be disturbed. I find that my new moon readings can be done within 24-48 hours of the new moon being exact and I still get a very insightful reading.
  • Focus your energy. Turn off your phone, music, TV, etc. Sit silently for several minutes before you do your reading. If you do any other ritual work with moon cycles, include the reading as part of your practice.
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August 3, 2020 – Full Moon in Aquarius & Full Moon Tarot Spread

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Today there is a Full Moon in Aquarius, but what does that mean? Here on Earth, when we look up at the full moon, it appears to be shining brightly because of where the Moon is positioned in relationship to the Sun and the Earth. A full moon marks the end of a cycle. The zodiac sign where the full moon occurs provides insight into the aspects of life illuminated by that bright full moon. After a period of living in the shadows, those aspects have gradually moved into the light.

Moon in Aquarius

When the Moon is in Aquarius, there can be emotional objectivity and detachment. The Moon wants to explore feelings and emotions, which requires a deep dive into our experiences, beliefs and attitudes and how we feel about them. Aquarius is focused on truth and objectivity, which requires ascending into the heavens to see humanity from a global perspective. At first glance, a student of astrology might think the Moon in Aquarius is a frosty, emotionally detached placement.

However, if we keep in mind that everyone has feelings, but has different ways of showing and managing those feelings, then it’s a little easier to understand how the Moon’s focus on emotional response can extract Aquarius’s desire for truth. For example, the Moon may ask Aquarius, “How do you REALLY feel about injustice?” and Aquarius replies with “I am AGAINST it!” The Moon encourages Aquarius to show those feelings in the ways Aquarius feels most comfortable. The Moon says to Aquarius, “show, don’t tell.”

The ways an Aquarius Moon could show its feelings include:

  • writing a letter to local officials about an issue in the community
  • signing and circulating petitions
  • advocating for justice & equality through participating in demonstrations and protests
  • educating others through sharing articles & resources

Full Moon Tarot Spread

A full moon is a perfect time to reflect upon the lessons learned since the last full moon, and what you wish to call forth for the next cycle. I developed this Full Moon Tarot Spread several years ago and use it at every full moon. This spread shines a light on the shadows of the cycle that has ended and casts its glow into what is to come.

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Full Moon Tarot Spread

Shuffle the cards and cut the deck as many times as you feel you need. As you shuffle, take several deep breaths and center your thoughts on yourself and your desire for deeper knowledge and foresight.
Lay out the cards in the pattern shown, or in rows of 3 cards each – whatever works easier for you.

  1. Where you are right now
  2. What influences you
  3. What you have learned since the last full moon
  4. What you are learning now
  5. What you take with you into the next cycle
  6. What you leave behind
  7. Advice
  8. What comes of following advice
  9. What to expect at the next full moon
Tips on Making the Most of Your Reading
  • Write it down. I like to record my full moon readings in my journal, adding any notes or interpretations on the reading in a contrasting ink color. Before I begin the reading, I write down my current state of mind.
  • Take your time. Schedule a time to do your reading when you won’t be disturbed. I find that my full moon readings can be done within 24-48 hours of the full moon being exact and I still get a very insightful reading.
  • Focus your energy. Turn off your phone, music, TV, etc. Sit silently for several minutes before you do your reading. If you do any other ritual work with moon cycles, include the reading as part of your practice.

 

Venus Retrograde Fridays

How’s everyone doing? Did you lose your mind after the first 30 days of stay-at-home orders or are you holding on to those last few brain cells? I have my good days and not-so-good days. This week has been really weird, with energy spikes and then 24-hour cycles of I-don’t-give-a-f**k.

But I have one thing I’ve been looking forward to every week since May 13: Venus Retrograde Fridays. I was inspired by Chani Nicholas’s workshops with a special section on Venus retrograde. Chani is a freakin’ brilliant astrologer who explains everything so clearly and with a focus on personal growth. If you’re not following her on social media, and you have even a passing interest in astrology, go follow her now and sign up for her mailing list. I’ll wait.

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A brief primer on Venus retrograde, taken from Café Astrology:

Occasionally, Venus appears to be moving backward in the sky. “Appears” is the key word here, because, technically speaking, no planet actually moves backward in their orbits around the Sun. In fact, they don’t even slow down. Retrograde-station-direct cycles are essentially illusions that result from our point of view from Earth, simply because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets. Venus is Retrograde approximately 40-43 days every 18 months.

Venus went retrograde in the sign of Gemini on May 13 and will station direct on June 25.

Why should you care? Well, Venus is the planet of beauty and aesthetics. She rules what we value, what makes us happy, and what creative pursuits we enjoy. She is all about sensory experiences: delicious food and drink, leisurely activities, delightful scents and sights. She also rules relationships – surprise, surprise.

So what happens when Venus is retrograde? Retrograde periods of any planet in astrology are a time when the areas ruled by that planet seem to go backwards or sideways. We have to reassess, reflect, re-do, rewrite, rethink; things might not move forward as fast or as easily as we’d like. Since Venus rules love, affection, beauty, values, aesthetics and relationships, that means these are the areas where we need to reconsider what we’re doing and where we want to be during a Venus retrograde cycle. You may start considering a new hairstyle or makeup palette. You might want to clean out your closet and reinvent your look. A romance that was already on shaky ground may end, or past loves may pop up and get you thinking about how that relationship helped or hindered your growth.

Most astrologers will advise you not to make any major changes during a retrograde period. During Venus retrograde, you shouldn’t cut your own hair or sell off your investment portfolio. I tend to agree with that, but I would also add: if you’re able to test out a change in a way that you can reverse it with minimal consequences, it might be worth trying.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Venus Retrograde Fridays. Venus rules Friday, so Chani Nicholas recommends using this day to focus on Venusian activities. After nearly 8 months of intense client work and dealing with personal issues, I am all about taking better care of me while work is not as crazy busy. I’ve now had two Venus Retrograde Fridays and really enjoyed them, and figured I owed it to the last few regular readers of my blog to share how this works and ways you can honor Venus during this retrograde period.

Here’s a list of possible activities for Venus Retrograde Friday.

    • Lounge in bed for as long as you want.
    • Wear comfy clothes.
    • Play “closet” where you go through your clothes and try out new looks.
    • Reorganize your closet or dresser: by color, by type, by season, by outfit, by whatever.
    • Play “jewelry box” where you go through your baubles (as my fabulously fashionable friend Beth calls them) and put on all of them or try new combinations.
    • Put clean sheets on the bed and fresh linens in the bathroom.
    • Take a long soak in the tub with your favorite scents – bubbles, bath bomb or salts optional (bonus points if you have a glass of your favorite beverage nearby, or you eat a cupcake while in the tub).
    • Deep condition your hair.
    • Put on your favorite perfume or scented lotion.
    • Give yourself a mani/pedi or a facial (YouTube has tons of great tutorials).
    • Teach yourself a new updo for your hair (again, YouTube tutorials are the way to go).
    • Take a nap.
    • Bake your favorite treats and eat them slowly so you can enjoy every bite.
    • Make yourself a fabulous dinner and pair it with your favorite beverage – or order that meal for pickup/delivery.
    • Write a love letter to yourself to open after July 29 (when Venus ends its shadow period).
    • Write out affirmations focusing on loving yourself more, then read them aloud. Some good ones:
      • I am perfectly content to be me.
      • I am good enough just as I am.
      • I love and approve of myself.
      • I choose to love myself unconditionally.
    • Read love poems, a romance novel, chick lit, or erotica.
    • Watch a favorite rom-com.
    • Take a virtual tour of an art museum or historic residence/palace (my personal favorite is Versailles).
    • Write letters and cards to people you care about – or send happy mail to people who need encouragement and/or support. (Here’s a great site to start with if you’d like to write something semi-anonymous to someone in need. Here’s another one.)

While you don’t have to do this on Fridays, it will certainly kick off the weekend on a positive note. And if you can only do one thing you really love on Friday, that’s still good. Venus Retrograde Fridays are all about loving on yourself the best way possible. Enjoy!

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces: It’s the Most Frustrating Time of the Year

Connection speeds got you down?
Your bus or train running behind schedule?
Mobile phone, laptop, or other electronic device not working right?

Welcome to Mercury retrograde, my friends.

Long time readers of GWM have likely read previous posts I’ve written about Mercury retrograde, an astrological phenomenon that happens about 3 times a year. To understand this occurrence, and why some folks get so frustrated when Mercury is retrograde, I’ll provide some background.

Mercury, Greek, mythology, Hermes
Artistic rendering of Mercury (Hermes), the messenger of the gods in Greek & Roman mythology. Image courtesy elfinspell.com

Mercury (also known as Hermes) was the messenger of the gods in Greek & Roman mythology. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play tricks. In astrology, the planet Mercury rules all forms of communication. This includes e-mail, faxes, Internet, phones, text messages and snail mail. Mercury also rules transportation: planes, trains, automobiles, even bicycles and scooters. On a more abstract level, Mercury rules thoughts, concepts and ideas.

In astrology, the term retrograde means that a planet appears to be moving backwards through the signs of the zodiac. All planets except the Sun and Moon have retrograde cycles, and these retrograde cycles tend to trigger areas that need special attention. I found this explanation from Dwight Ennis to be particularly helpful:

Astrologically, a retrograde planet is symbolically retracing ground that has already been covered. Wherever one finds a retrograde planet, it seems to indicate a need to internalize that planet’s energies, come to terms with them, and “own” them.

When Mercury is retrograde, communication can get all screwed up. Websites go down for no apparent reason. Social media becomes unpredictable, with real-time updates & feeds not working the way they should. Electronic devices lose power or break down completely. Travel can be wonky as well: traffic might be much worse on the freeway, flights are delayed or cancelled, and you might have car problems.

The unpredictability of Mercury retrograde can manifest in other surprising ways. Whenever a major awards ceremony takes place during Mercury retrograde, such as this year’s Academy Awards, I’m always interested to see what happens, because the favorite in any category can end up not winning. This year’s results didn’t disappoint in that regard, with Argo taking Best Picture, Ang Lee winning Best Director for Life of Pi, and Christoph Waltz getting the Best Supporting Actor award for his work in Django Unchained – when none of them were seen as the favorites by many pundits.

On February 23, Mercury went retrograde in the sign of Pisces, which rules intuition, imagination, compassion, and understanding. Pisces also rules large bodies of water and water pipes. During the Oscars, I found this tweet which perfectly describes the wackiness of Mercury retrograde in Pisces.

Twitter, tweet, Mercury retrograde, Mercury, retrograde, Pisces, Oscars, Academy Awards

I like to think that Mercury finds all of the delays and communication breakdowns and surprises amusing. He’s a trickster, after all. But that doesn’t help when you’re waiting on a call about a job or your car won’t start. The good part is that Mercury retrograde cycles don’t last very long; the most intense portion of the cycle goes on for 20-24 days. It’s enough time to make you loopy, but not so long that you lose all hope of ever having a working Internet connection again.

It may help to think of Mercury retrograde cycles as a time to re-engage with areas of your life that have been neglected. Our world spins so fast these days (figuratively speaking) that it can be difficult to find the time to take on those tasks we’ve been putting off for a while. Personally, I’ve been using this Mercury retrograde period to take a look at old projects and determine if I am interested enough to revive them, and I’m re-organizing my stuff and weeding out items I no longer need. Notice all the “re” words? That’s because retrograde cycles are good for “re” activities: revise, reassess, review…you get the idea.

While searching online for current pieces on Mercury retrograde, I came across this piece from 2010 that resonated with me. As someone whose ruling planet is Mercury (I’m a Gemini rising), I often struggle to find the good during Mercury’s retrograde periods. The excerpt below gave me some food for thought:

Mercury Retrograde is a time to lay off the caffeine-powered Mercury engines of our lives and find something else–stillness, Athena, Jupiter, anybody but Hermes/Mercury. And this is what could be filling us with dread as we think of Mercury receding away from us. We’ve come to depend so much on him that we can’t picture him moving away from us…We don’t use it as a time to reflect on our attachment to our computers, our phones, our social networking accounts, our blogs, or even ways of communicating, whether electronically or not. It doesn’t mean that we have to cut off Mercury or Mercury related concerns entirely, even if that were possible.

It means that we can give space to other dimensions of Mercury through other “gods” or principles, like looking at the beauty of our handwriting, which is more of a Venus/Jupiter concern. (Yes, when was the last time you looked at your writing script? Have you ever pushed to develop or improve it, especially since writing in script is becoming a dying art?) Or does a recent argument with a friend highlight how you might not listen as well as you think you do? Or do you speak more forcefully, with too much Mars, than you might think or would like? Similarly, are you being as serious about your communication or your spoken commitments as you could, which is to evoke more Saturn? Or how are you evoking Athena (strategy) and wisdom on your job?

So while I referred to Mercury retrograde as being the most frustrating time of the year in the post title, it really doesn’t have to be. And if I keep telling myself this, eventually I will believe it. In the meantime, I’m counting down the days until March 17, when Mercury goes direct. Only 13 more to go…

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer (June 2007)

Better late than never…here is the Mercury retrograde update for the current cycle.

Mercury went retrograde at 12 degrees Cancer on June 15, 2007, and will go direct at 2 degrees Cancer on July 9, 2007.
A brief recap on what Mercury retrograde means:  Mercury (a.k.a. Hermes) was the messenger of the gods in Greek & Roman mythology. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play tricks. In astrology, the planet Mercury rules all forms of communication. This includes e-mail, faxes, Internet, cell phones, text messages, and snail mail. Transportation, short trips, and cars are also ruled by Mercury. Other random things ruled by Mercury: bees and beekeepers; bad breath; coupons; eyesight; idiots and imbeciles; needles; licorice; schools; sewing; the color violet; Wednesday.Retrograde means that a planet appears to be moving backwards through the signs of the zodiac. When Mercury is retrograde, communication can get all screwed up. Your Internet access might crap out suddenly. Phone calls get disconnected or don’t go through at all. Travel can be screwy as well: traffic might be much worse on the freeway, flights are delayed or cancelled, and you might have car problems. Attempting to execute any sort of plan during this time might be more difficult than usual.
While this can be annoying, Mercury retrograde is also a great “do-over” period. For about 4 weeks, all sorts of things can happen. Old classmates e-mail you out of the blue (this actually happened to me last week – a guy from my high school sent me a message about our upcoming reunion). A former lover calls you to chat. And unresolved issues finally get closure. Because of this, many astrologers recommend using this period as a time to review, reflect, revise, and re-do, rather than starting new projects.

Crazy things tend to happen during Mercury retrograde because to Mercury, it’s funny. He has a pretty twisted sense of humor. And while I appreciate weirdness in people, planets, and androgynous mythological characters, I also like my e-mails and text messages to go through. I have learned, though, that if I laugh with Mercury, and not at him, things have a way of flowing more smoothly.

Cancer is the sign that rules motherhood, the home, patriotism, and sentimentality. It also rules women, water, food, and the stomach. In July 2006, Mercury was retrograde in Cancer; what I wrote then still applies now:

Cancer is the sign that rules emotion, home, and family – its main focus is on nurturing. Cancer is represented by the crab. The crab’s claws serve a dual purpose: nurturing, in that the crab uses its claws to grab food; or hurtful, in that the crab uses the claws to protect itself from predators. During Mercury retrograde in Cancer, it’s a time to review our emotional process. Are we pulling people and ideas close to us in order to nurture them, as well as ourselves? Or are we snapping our emotional claws in an attempt to defend ourselves? Mercury in Cancer says, “Hey, look at what you’re feeling and be with it. Don’t make yourself wrong, but don’t make others wrong, either. You just feel what you feel. But if you want to feel better, see what thoughts, concepts, and beliefs are underneath all those emotions.”

To put it simply, be good to yourself over the next 2 weeks. Don’t make any rash decisions based on how you’re feeling right now, because come July 10, you might feel completely different. Take time to relax, and if you need someone to bitch to about Mercury’s bullshit, give me a shout at girlwithmoxie at gmail.com.

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces/Aquarius: Come On In, the Water’s Fine!

Yes, kids, it’s back. The planet Mercury goes retrograde at 10 degrees of Pisces starting on February 13, 2007 and goes direct at 25 degrees of Aquarius on March 7, 2007. For those of you who are new to Moxie’s astrology talk, here’s a recap:

Mercury (also known as Hermes) was the messenger of the gods in Greek & Roman mythology. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play tricks. The planet Mercury rules all forms of communication. This includes e-mail, faxes, Internet, phones, text messages, and good ol’ U.S. Postal Service mail. Mercury also rules thoughts, concepts, ideas, and transportation.

Retrograde means that a planet appears to be moving backwards through the signs of the zodiac. When Mercury is retrograde, communication can get all screwed up. Your Internet access might be spotty or unbearably slow. Phone calls get disconnected or don’t go through at all. Travel can be wonky as well: traffic might be much worse on the freeway, flights are delayed or cancelled, and you might have car problems.

Mercury retrograde is also a great “do-over” period. For about 4 weeks, all sorts of crazy things can happen. Long-lost friends find you on Myspace. A former lover calls you to chat. And unresolved issues finally get closure. Because of this, many astrologers recommend using this period as a time to review, reflect, revise, and re-do, rather than starting new projects.

Pisces rules intuition, imagination, compassion, and understanding. Its sign is the fish, which swims through the waters of the psyche to gain clarity and achieve self-awareness. In its role as the last water sign in the zodiac, Pisces seeks to integrate all the lessons from the previous signs (Aries through Aquarius) and understand itself – and others – on a deep emotional and spiritual level.

As Mercury passes through Pisces from February 13 – 25, take some time to look at your spiritual environment. Do you feel connected to others, as well as yourself? Or do you spend a lot of time feeling like you’re on the outside looking in? Now is a good time to browse through the spiritual, self-help, and religious sections of a local bookstore or library, and pick up whatever book grabs your attention. Music, film, art, and theater might also be tools you can use to help you reconnect with your higher self. Allow your intuition to guide you to the right resources that can help you gain greater insight into your psyche.

On February 26, Mercury swims back into Aquarius. This air sign focuses on humanitarian efforts, inventiveness, and intellectual activity. Because Aquarius is known as the water bearer, people sometimes think it’s actually a water sign. But rather than living in the water (emotional experience), Aquarius carries the water to others so that they can thrive. As such, Aquarians can be seen as rather cool and aloof. It’s this detachment, though, that allows them to come up with ideas that may benefit all of humanity.

For the last 10 days of Mercury retrograde (February 26 – March 7), think about what you’ve learned about yourself while Mercury was moving through Pisces. How can you implement your spiritual lessons in new, creative ways? How can you help others in a way that everyone benefits? Look around to see what charities are doing in your area. Find ones that speak to you personally and figure out some way you can help, whether it’s donating your time, money, or other services. Check in with your friends and family, too. Is someone really struggling with personal or professional issues? Take them out and allow them to vent and process their feelings and thoughts without fear of being judged.

With Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius, we’re given an opportunity to dive into deep water and explore our spiritual selves. Once we’re back on dry land, we have a chance to pour out that water and re-establish our connections to others. So put your bathing suit on – it’s time to go swimming!

Got questions about astrology? Leave me a comment, or send me a message via my profile.