“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.” – Jonas Salk. We walk between the acts this week, not quite here or there as Mercury appears to slow down and retrograde August 2 through August 27 *(see below for an explanation of the retrograde cycle.) Doubling the effects this retrograde cycle, Mercury also opposes confusing, intuitive and dreamy Neptune as it turns the corner. The world drifts. Our thinking gets fuzzy, information feels incomplete so our imagination can work overtime and invent stories to fill in the gaps. While this is a great time to write fiction or dream the day away, it is a truly difficult time to hammer out a national budget plan.
Over the weekend we walk through a dreamy haze as Mercury in Virgo appears to hold still opposed Neptune. It’s a great opportunity to rest and recuperate but hard to make things happen. Let go of preconceptions, but watch out for a puddle of misunderstandings or misinformation as time slips and our brains melt. Water, heat, and human error can cause a real problem for electrical apparatus, but most of the confusion will be from well-intentioned misperception with a few difficult streaks of laziness, downright deceit or shared delusion. Unless we can see the facts clearly for ourselves, let’s assume we only have half the story and proceed carefully.
Boundaries get blurry and thin this weekend, and it may help to stay away from invasive people. Intuition may be strong, but could easily be distorted by our hopes and fears. But if we can really still the waters within and calm our soul, our hearts can feel our empathic connection though our minds may disagree.
As the week progresses the past filters into the present. Look backwards for the roots of this week’s dilemmas and the answers to this week’s questions. It’s time to review, reveal, and deal with a problem we thought was solved. We may need to go back and complete a cycle with a person or place from our past, or just finish a half-read novel. It’s easier to look back than to look ahead, but if we get miffed and try to get even, we only get snarled in the tangled past, If instead we hold the intention to complete, heal, and open to serendipity, this can be a wonderful time.
Over the week something may trigger our deeper feelings and add a bittersweet note to summer, reminding us that all things fade eventually. Let it make each minute more precious as Venus trines Uranus. Some unexpected personal agenda, romance or work assignment may show up, a side-bar to our ordinary efforts but one that needs attention now. Whether this is a gentle side story or operatic disaster is up to us and our individual charts. Venus and the Sun in Leo feed our sense of panache and our generous nature, but it can also bring out our self-centered sides and tempt us to either make grand gestures or make mountains out of molehills. We have to keep our sense of proportion.
What we can do well under this retrograde Mercury is dream. We’ll have time to do so, because somehow with Mercury retrograde follies slowing down our transportation and communication, we may accidentally get time to let our imagination wander. Night dreams can down load real information or help us process our story. Daydreams can help us move past old limitations or solve unprecedented problems, but to use it well we have to let go of tempting passive dreams where a lottery ticket, tax reduction or princess in shining armor solves all, instead let’s actively imagine how we ourselves can make the difference.
Over the weekend it’s best to drop the workload and renew with one another under a New Moon in Leo. Concerts and performances may sing, even if people stumble their lines or we deal with technical snafus and missed connections. Ego issues are up and running, but that’s summer. But we can notice a new strand of self-reflection and ponder our personal responsibility as Mercury dips into Virgo, and hope our politicians are asking the same questions.
Don’t bother trying to get stuff done on prickly and technically challenging Monday and Tuesday; we can assess the situation and make small progress, but it will be hard to bring anything to completion. All this week we may need to make temporary plans, sketch out possibilities and refine them over the next few months. Midweek we have more room for compassionate compromise even if our personal defenses heighten, and can go back to an older chunk of work for inspiration.
Friday, July 29: Signals cross, water doesn’t go where we want it to, and our doubts whisper un-truths to us as Mercury in Virgo opposes Neptune. Keep eyes open for unexpected obstacles and walk around them. New ideas crop up relevant to autumn, take notes and let them marinate. Tonight, get the stories flowing.
Saturday, July 30: Summer peaks on this New Moon in Leo. Life is operatic, so let’s let the pros sing and side step dueling egos or artificial dramas ourselves. Public relations flow more smoothly than personal ones, needs can clash and our beloveds read the crowd more easily than us. Party by starlight tonight.
Sunday, July 31: Dream big together, it’s not a day for decisions or logistics, but for possibilities as Venus trines Uranus. We don’t need to make our problems worse than they are to ask for the attention and focus we need, let’s assume all issues are interrelated and help one another out.
Monday, Aug 1: Get organized as the Virgo Moon conjuncts Mercury, sketch out what absolutely must be accomplished for the next three weeks. Low level anxiety is helps us stay aware but cannot run the show tonight as Venus quincunx Pluto. Be careful around any machinery or electrical problems.
Tuesday, Aug 2: When we look at what needs to be done, we can feel overwhelmed as Mercury retrogrades. Rest, don’t give up. Keep it slow and steady and forgiving today. Patience. Pierce the fog with the heart’s insight.
Wednesday, Aug 3: We grow nerve endings as Mars enters Cancer. Saber rattling is about self-protection; let them know there’s another way. Self-doubts whisper in the background; go very lightly with critiques and assume there are misunderstandings. It may be safest to holds hands and smile.
Thursday, Aug 4: If we’re lucky, we’ll realize what we don’t know. If not, we’ll bumble along thinking we do know. Stay humble as Mars trines Neptune, listen with heart and soul. Let go of outdated goals and look for hints of the temporary assignment. Midday, be flexible about the path yet avoid wrong turns. Swim through gentle confusion later.
*Mercury retrograde: Mercury is the toasty planet whirling so close to the Sun that it never appears farther than one sign away. Mercury has 4.15 years, or rotations around the Sun, to each earth year. Because we’re moving in the same direction, although slower, Mercury appears to rotate around the Sun only three times a year; it can move up to 28 degrees ahead of the Sun as an evening star, then starts to circle back on its orbit and looks, from our Earthly perspective, to move backwards or turn retrograde against the pattern of the Zodiac behind it for about three weeks.
When it does, we get a chance to come to a new and deeper understanding, reconnect with our past and bring work to completion, do anything that begins re-, like remember, re-edit, reconnect, retreat, reorganize, but all that Mercury stands for may not work quite like we hope. Mercury retrograde can really snafu business as usual, but it is loaded with its own gifts if we take the time and dance with it well.
Mercury likes to move, so the day at the beginning and end of this retrograde cycle -when Mercury appears to hold still -are the trickiest; so much hold still here on earth. Mercury disappears into the Sun’s light and reappears on the other side more often than any other visible planet—one reason it corresponds to the magician and the shape-shifter archetypes in mythology.
Mercury: In Greek mythology, Mercury was the God of the crossroads, the messenger of the Gods and the psychopomp that went down to the underworld to negotiate for the release of lost souls. He was also God of thieves; he symbolizes an ingenious quality that is a gift when in the service of the Gods but a source of trouble when used to disconnect us from heart and body or for personal gain.
Mercury expresses in our mental switchboard– how we think, talk, organize, how we transport, move people, things and ideas. In our private charts it talks about how we think, speak, tell jokes and remember, how we manage time and travel. It affects how we understand one another, where we put our car keys, how we schedule and coordinate with others. In worldly (mundane) astrology, it correlates with travel, publishing, broadcasting, with the electrical neurological networks created between our computer and the web, with navigation, air traffic control and traffic flow. It covers where we put our car keys, time for appointments and meetings. Mercury retrograde can really snafu business as usual, we cannot count on these things going as smoothly, and they need extra time and attention.
Merc. Retrograde surviving/thriving skills–How to make the best of this time: If there is any tension, look for the misunderstanding. If the situation seems confusing, walk forward slowly and with alert poise, like walking through a fogbound city. Prioritize safety. Confirm all appointments. Keep track of whatever really needs to happen (bills paid, messages sent and received) and let go of the rest. It is not time to start new projects or make whopping decisions for the future, but it is a great time to complete what is already begun, deal with side issues or resurrect some connection or work from the past. Travel, especially back to a place you’ve been before, can go smoothly, but it is always good to make contingency plans and take a good book with you.
Look for the hidden benefits, opportunities that arise when things look bleak, a great conversation while waiting for the delayed ferry, wandering items found while looking for the lost keys. Take a moment to turn within to retrospect and introspect, the real gift of Mercury retrograde. If we’re too cerebral, our mind seems to go on strike and ask us to get whole, take a mind-heart-soul approach. Rest and be energized for the new chapter afterwards. And, most of all, keep a sense of humor.
As if we are leaving on a journey, the stars now ask us to stop and review: have we forgotten anything, do we need to compost or complete anything before we head out the door? Mercury retrograde is laced with its own gifts if we take the time and dance with it well.