By the time this column is posted, the Sagittarius New Moon will be behind us. The Moon will remain in Sagittarius until Thursday. Over the next couple evenings, the Moon will also emerge from the shadows, reappearing as a thin crescent in the west just after sunset.
As this week comes to a close, the gradually waxing Moon will move on to Capricorn. At the same time, a more figurative shadow phase will begin — for Mercury, which is also currently in Sagittarius along with the Sun and Moon.
Just hours before Mercury makes ingress to Capricorn on Friday, it will enter what many call the ‘shadow phase’ preceding its next retrograde (which begins on Dec. 19). This period before retrograde is when Mercury is still in forward motion but gradually slowing down. It is moving in a section of the zodiac it will eventually retrace two more times — once in reverse, and one final time after resuming direct motion once again.
For many, the term ‘shadow’ carries negative connotations. That’s one reason Eric proposed a new description of Mercury’s prelude to retrograde years ago: its ‘echo phase’. As with so much of what we offer here at Planet Waves, the idea behind rephrasing Mercury’s period of preface is to empower you. For there is in fact nothing intrinsically foreboding about Mercury retrogrades, much less what leads up to or follows them.
By at least entertaining the term ‘echo phase’ you give yourself a chance to shed some unnecessary dread and take up with a useful tool for positive and creative engagement with the cosmos. Behind the idea is a cogent observation formalized by Albert Einstein (but assumed by astrologers long before): that time and space are equivalent, and not at all necessarily linear in nature.
With the advent of Mercury’s next echo phase, you will thus be presented with the opportunity to conduct a worthy experiment by simply making some observations of your own. All you have to do, to begin with, is pay closer attention to the world than usual and take note of what seem to be emerging themes. Then, during Mercury’s subsequent time of reversal, evaluate which of those topics (if any) manifest in practice.
You might think of your putative experiment as listening for an echo from the future, but in a very practical way it will entail something entirely different. It’s a chance to take a measure of your own mind, and its connection to your physical existence, relative to the world. Once you have that estimation, you will (much as the Moon is presently doing) have initiated a gradual and very real emergence from darkness into light. What you do or where you go from there will be entirely up to you.
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