Tag Archives: Mercury

Rosehips in ice; photo by Amanda Painter.

Of Retrogrades and Gratitude

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury is stationing retrograde in Pisces on Sunday (early Monday in some time zones), which puts us in its ‘storm’ phase now. That’s the big astro-news you need to be most aware of. Yet perhaps apropos of Mercury’s stationary status — as it hovers seemingly in one place before appearing to reverse direction — I think I need to begin where I was originally planning to end this essay.

This will be my last weekly column for Planet Waves, at least for the foreseeable future. After 10 years of working for this incredible little astrology-website-that-could, and growing in immeasurable ways in the process, it is time for me to seek new adventures.

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Friends, Benefits, and the Leo Full Moon

By Amanda Painter

We’re heading toward a Full Moon on Feb. 9, and Mercury stations retrograde one week later (on Feb. 16). That would be more than enough provocative energy on its own, but there are additional elements of the sky that will be sparking up the weekend.

Disco lion's mane or crystallized moonlight? Photo by Amanda Painter.

Disco lion’s mane or crystallized moonlight? Photo by Amanda Painter.

One of those elements gets cooking tomorrow: Venus enters Aries at 3:02 pm EST (20:02:17 UTC) Feb. 7. Venus in Aries (the sign of Self ruled by Mars) tends to be lusty and assertive, idealistic yet impulsive, charming but sometimes inconsiderate without realizing it.

So remember your empathy, especially if any interpersonal situations get confrontational or intense as the Full Moon builds.

Yet it’s the conjunction of Venus to Chiron and the object Salacia that really focuses the qualities of Venus in Aries. Salacia appears to relate to sexual maturity (particularly the lack thereof) and to the kinds of sexual activity that get people all flustered.

In the U.S. media at least, that seems to be anything taboo or ‘scandalous’. In your personal life, it might mean the same things — or simply your perception that certain facets of your desire and sexual activity could be seen that way. But aren’t those always the hottest fantasies?

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Ceres in Aquarius, and a Vesta Quarter Moon

By Amanda Painter

Tomorrow (Friday), Ceres becomes the next planet to leave the Capricorn stellium. It enters Aquarius at 2:59 am EST (7:58:45 UTC), and immediately bumps into the surprises offered by Uranus in Taurus.

Dewi Sri, the Balinese goddess of rice and fertility. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Dewi Sri, the Balinese goddess of rice and fertility, watches over a home in Ubud. Photo by Amanda Painter.

What does Ceres in Aquarius describe? Ceres is the planet of literal food (specifically grain) and feeding, as well as metaphorical forms of nourishment. Aquarius is the sign of groups.

Automatically, we get an image of the social facet of eating: all forms of breaking bread with others, perhaps especially potluck dinners. Things like volunteering at soup kitchens and food banks bring in the humanitarian facet of Aquarius.

Less literally, we can see the theme of socialness itself being nourishing. Our friendships feed our hearts and souls, and at times offer the kind of nurturing that families of origin were not able to provide. Being accepted by a group can feel nourishing (though its shadow side includes peer pressure, social hierarchies and tribalism).

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Fire Engine Abstract #4. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Harnessing Those Bright Ideas

By Amanda Painter

How are things shaking out now that we’ve concluded the eclipse period, and Saturn and Pluto have made their famous meeting in Capricorn? True, Saturn-Pluto is still working out, and Pluto is not at all done with Cap yet. But has anything shifted? Do you feel like you’re in recovery? Are you facing a brave (or scary, or shiny, or intimidating) new world?

Fire Engine Abstract #4. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Fire Engine Abstract #4. Photo by Amanda Painter.

It may take a good while yet to see the effects of choices you’ve made in the last two to three weeks. Chances are good, though, that you understand something about your world, and your personal agency in it, in a new way.

Right on cue, Mercury — the planet of intellect — is leaving the Capricorn herd and entering Aquarius at 1:31 pm EST today (18:30:42 UTC). Mercury is strong here, blending the steady persistence of Saturn (traditional ruler of Aquarius) with the intuitive inventiveness of Uranus (modern ruler of Aquarius).

Mercury in Aquarius also tends to be a communicative, friendly placing, likely related to the association Aquarius has with groups. It can be iconoclastic with its ideas, but there’s also a reminder to beware of inflexible thinking once the brainstorm has offered its insights. Aquarius is, after all, a fixed sign, describing the repeated crystallization of new patterns after old ones have been interrupted.

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Capricorn Shore, Dancing Waves: Cancer Full Moon and Eclipse

By Amanda Painter

Today the Moon enters Cancer at 3:43 am EST (8:43:07 UTC) on its way to Friday’s Full Moon and penumbral lunar eclipse. I keep looking at this chart — with the Moon, seemingly by itself, facing off against a host of objects in Capricorn — and all these sea-related catchphrases keep popping into mind. I’ll get to those in a moment.

Light dancing on waves, waves dancing on shore; Higgins Beach, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Light dancing on waves, waves dancing on shore; Higgins Beach, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

For some orientation: the eclipse peaks on Jan. 10 at 2:10 pm EST (19:09:58 UTC). Eleven minutes later, the Sun-Moon opposition (Full Moon) peaks at 2:21 pm EST (19:21:10 UTC).

Astrologically, the Moon rules Cancer. It is strong there, and emphasizes this water sign’s tendency toward cycles, intuition and sensitivity. Astronomically, the Moon’s movements dictate the tides of our actual oceans.

Meanwhile, in Capricorn (sign of business, government, tradition, leadership) we have: the Sun (conscious self-expression), Mercury (intellect and communication), asteroid Ceres (food, nourishment), Saturn (structure, limits, authority), Pluto (compelled evolution, ‘what is below’), and centaur Chariklo (holding space for another).

Full Moons imply a meeting or confrontation. In the chart for this one, the Moon seemingly floats in the water all by itself, reflecting the light of the Sun, and opposing all those other objects that are aligned on the rocky shore. Among those objects: a Saturn-Pluto conjunction — exact just two days later, on Jan. 12 — that describes much of the upheaval and major change we’re witnessing around us.

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Onward into 2020

By Amanda Painter

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found this to be an especially contemplative transition to a new year. I guess that’s true each time we end a decade, as we assess just how much has changed in those ten years. Yet, in moving from 2019 to 2020, I’m aware of just how much extra gravitas, pressure, awareness and restlessness I’m feeling, and its correlation to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn.

Photo by Amanda Painter

Photo by Amanda Painter

Ten or so years ago, roughly corresponding to Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn, marked some highly pivotal events in my life.

Tracing the growth I’ve experienced in this last decade — and contrasting it to the general trajectory of the previous ten years — is offering confirmation that the processes of Pluto, daunting as they are, do offer gifts.

Even so, the lessons of Pluto and Saturn tend to be hard-won.

While the lessons of Jupiter (and even Uranus) can seem to fling the doors of one’s life wide open — simply leaving it up to us to stride through (not always easy, depending on one’s circumstances and baggage) — Saturn and Pluto demand more. They ask us to work for what we want. They insist that we make the difficult choice to undo so much that has always appeared solid, or a given, so that we can build anew in ways that afford us more space for who we’re becoming.

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Boy in a funeral procession flashes the peace sign; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies. Karma and dharma are a strong part of their Hindu beliefs. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Ringing in the Eclipses

By Amanda Painter

When this column publishes, it’ll be within a couple minutes of the Capricorn New Moon and annular (not total) solar eclipse. The New Moon is exact at 12:13 am EST (5:13:00 UTC), with the eclipse peaking about four minutes later. You likely have some idea already what the event signifies for you.

Boy in a funeral procession; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies, and funerals are a big celebration. Karma and dharma are a strong part of their Hindu beliefs. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Boy in a Hindu funeral procession at Pura Goa Lawah; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies, and funerals celebrate reincarnation. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Yet even if you were not sent a bright star in the east last night to follow — or some other massive, impossible-to-ignore sign from god — chances are you can look back over the past year to gather some clues. After all, this eclipse is happening in Capricorn, the same sign as the year-defining Saturn-Pluto conjunction that’s exact in a few weeks.

Saturn-Pluto has been the long game: the gradual building of pressure, the progressive dismantling, the ever-increasing awareness of a need to restructure. Its manifestations on the world stage have been obvious and dramatic. Possibly it’s been showing up in your life more subtly — kind of like insistent, repeated nudges in a particular direction, or something coming apart in stages.

Eclipses, on the other hand, tend to be a more focused process. Usually there’s one solar and one lunar eclipse bracketing a two-week span. (The corresponding partial lunar eclipse of this pair arrives Jan. 10, almost aligning with the 12 Days of Christmas and the arrival of the three Magi with their gifts.)

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The Day of Flamboyance: Birthdays and Planet News

If Your Birthday is Dec. 9
The Day of Flamboyance | 2019-20 Sagittarius Astrology Studio | All Other Signs

Let your touchstone in the coming year be an enhanced ability to perceive yourself objectively. Work-related demands and building financial security will require sustained effort. Yet opportunities seized now can lead to substantial, long-lasting results. If commitments trigger resentment, or the balance of power in relationships impacts your self-esteem, analyze underlying issues. With awareness and focus, you can initiate effective and necessary communication about sensitive topics.
— by Victoria Emory

If you have a Sagittarius Sun, rising sign or Moon and could use some insights on such real-life matters as work, relationships and career, your 2019-2020 Sagittarius Astrology Studio reading by Eric Francis will cover your ruling planet Jupiter’s conjunction to the Galactic Core, a preview of Jupiter in Capricorn, and many other potentially life-changing facets of your astrology.

Written in the Planets

Mercury enters Sagittarius today at 4:41 am EST (9:41:26 UTC). Mercury being the planet of the mind, this activates awareness of what else is happening in Sagittarius: namely, the Sun moving between the Great Attractor (a deep-space phenomenon toward which our region of the universe is moving) and the Galactic Core (the center of our Milky Way galaxy). At this time of year, the Earth and the Sun are facing into the galaxy and into a larger galactic structure, focusing us on the Big Questions of Existence. Can you feel them tugging at the edges of your consciousness?

The natal placement of Mercury in Sagittarius tends to describe focusing on what is far-off and/or broad in scope, sometimes to the detriment of the details. Yet people with this Mercury are apt to be direct and sincere, even if they sometimes speak more candidly than others are prepared to hear.

Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, is making a conjunction to Pholus in Capricorn and a square to Chiron in Aries. Action is the name of the game with squares; in this case, putting your knowledge and spiritual theory to the test with some actual experimentation. How does it measure up against what you’ve learned previously? Notice if someone seems to be meeting you where you are in your experiment, or is showing you something about how to hold space for such a process in tangible ways.
— by Amanda Painter

In 2020 we have not one but two conjunctions that mark the turn of a generation, and of an era in history. On Jan. 12, Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn form their once per 33-year conjunction. Then on Dec. 21. 2020, Jupiter and Saturn, both now in Aquarius, form a conjunction in the first degree of that sign. Read more here…