Yogi Berra, Mercury Retrograde, and Saturday’s Eclipse

On Tuesday — the day before the equinox, during Mercury retrograde, and almost exactly between two eclipses — baseball Hall of Famer Lawrence “Yogi” Berra, at least as famous for what he said as how he played — died at the age of 90 in West Caldwell, New Jersey.

I’m going to leave the fantastic details of Berra’s life to The New York Times; but when someone so beloved for his quirky communication passes away with so much significant astrology going on, it’s worth considering his natal chart for a moment.

After all, the chart for Saturday’s Aries Full Moon and total lunar eclipse (exact at 10:50 pm EDT / 2:50 UTC Sunday) is quite focused on your communication within your relationships, and how it makes you feel about yourself. Berra (or his chart) might just have something useful to say about that.

Born May 12, 1925, in St. Louis, Missouri, at 2:00 am CST, Berra had a Taurus Sun, a Capricorn Moon and Pisces rising. (View his full chart here.) That Taurus Sun speaks to his physicality; former Yankees manager Casey Stengel reportedly once said of him, “He looks cumbersome but he’s quick as a cat.”

Yet without getting too technical, that Taurus Sun’s placement also suggests a gifted mind — contrary to what journalists decades ago tended to write about him, and contrary to the larger-than-life ‘character’ that he became in many people’s minds. Berra was sometimes derided for his humor or for being a non-intellectual. But even from a young age, he was shrewd about his contracts with teams; and pitchers praised his ability as a catcher to call pitches.

Known and loved for such backwards sayings as, “Ninety percent of the game is half mental,” and “It’s déjà vu all over again,” Berra’s death fits the theme as a Mercury retrograde event — even if he did not actually say all the things attributed to him.

(A Mercury retrograde side note: there’s real potential now to notice your old, less-helpful communication tendencies in your relationships; then you can begin consciously choosing to communicate more clearly.)

Before I get down to this weekend’s eclipse, I want to make mention of Berra’s own Mercury placement. It’s in Aries, the sign of ‘self’, in the 2nd house, which represents what you value (including your body, money, talents and self-esteem). His Mercury is exactly conjunct centaur Chiron (wounding and healing); and is also conjunct asteroid Pallas by two degrees (strategy and politics).

I don’t know enough about Berra’s early life or inner life to say with authority whether he had self-esteem issues. But this cluster of planets definitely suggests that his reported ‘disinterest’ in school may have stemmed from some sense that he wasn’t smart or ‘good at it’. Being athletic (Aries is ruled by Mars) is one way through that kind of wound to self-perception.

Another way through it is to use what comes out of your mouth strategically or politically — whether intentionally before you speak, or after the fact. Was Yogi Berra making fun of fools?

Or was he playing the fool in a shrewd (if not academically ‘intellectual’) way; one that allowed him to make his way through the world with humor, extending the road that his mad skills as a catcher and hitter had paved? Perhaps his wife of 65 years knew; but she passed away last year.

Speaking of what partners may or may not know (thanks to what you may or may not actually say to them): as mentioned, Saturday’s lunar eclipse occurs on the Aries-Libra axis. This is the pair of signs emblematic of ‘self’ and ‘relationships’.

Both the Sun and Moon are accompanied by some minor planets that flesh out the eclipse’s themes. The Moon is conjunct Vesta (devotion, service, and in shadow form, sacrifice). The Sun is conjunct retrograde Mercury on one side, and Juno and Black Moon Lilith on the other.

There is a difference between expressing yourself in ways others can truly hear — without sacrificing or repressing your emotions — versus temperamental reacting. As Planet Waves astrologer Len Wallick wrote once about mythical Lilith, “she had the courage and self-respect to assert that love imposed by force is not love at all.”

So how do you avoid imposing your love — or imposing how you feel about things in your relationship — by force, without stifling yourself? Juno and Mercury conjunct the Sun make it clear: state your needs. Regularly.

The first step, however, is to get clear in your own mind what those needs are; then you can cultivate healthy habits of communicating them to your partner. The more regularly you do so, the less likely you are to bottle things up that will explode later. That is, speak up and you’ll feel better.

Or, if we imagine how Yogi Berra might have described it: ‘What I just said was better back before I finally said it.’

5 thoughts on “Yogi Berra, Mercury Retrograde, and Saturday’s Eclipse

  1. Len Wallick

    Thank you, Amanda. Even though he lived a long and full life, Yogi’s passing brought up too much pain (for multiple and personal reasons) for me to write a piece about it. You did a better job than i ever could have. My he reign supreme on the Field of Dreams.

    1. Amanda Painter Post author

      Thank you, Len; that means a lot to me. Though I was not alive during his best decades as a player, his persona certainly has been familiar to me for many years — both through the things he actually said, and the things credited to him without basis.

      I wish I could have gotten deeper into his chart; it certainly is an interesting picture of an interesting man. Eric asked me while we were chatting about it what in the chart seemed to indicate why so many people would credit him with things he did not say. My take is that his Jupiter in Capricorn in the 11th house looks like an image of the wider world believing the “larger than life/larger than what was real” version of him.

      And then, of course, there is no denying his baseball stats. I knew he had been a great; but not being a baseball geek (I enjoy watching, but I don’t have a head for the numbers like true fanatics do) I had no idea just how remarkable a player he had been.

      I’m not sure if I was tapping into collective grief as I read his NYT obit, or if I just tend to empathize with figures such as he when they’ve been written about well, but I did feel a welling of teary emotion as I read. It is fascinating being a human sometimes.

      May he rein on that Field of Dreams, indeed. And may you meet him there one day.

  2. Amanda Painter Post author

    P.S. My partner just wrote me this about Berra:

    “FYI, I listened to a great interview yesterday with a writer who is also Yogi’s granddaughter and she confirmed, overwhelmingly so, most of what has been attributed to him, he actually said. 🙂 She said this is how he, her father, and her uncles all talk – same speech pattern and backward logical thinking. It must have made for wonderful Thanksgiving dinners. Yogi was truly truly a great baseball player and a kind and benevolent man. She was trying to get for him the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.”


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