Mercury Retrograde: A Change of Mental Perspective

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury stations retrograde on Wednesday. This is a little like turning up the volume on our mental environment.

Planet Waves
Poster by Kevin Paulsen. Photo by Eric Francis.

And that environment has been overwhelming lately. Monday’s news that plutonium is leaking from one of the crippled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant is a reminder of what you might encounter on an hour-to-hour basis, if you pay attention. For more than two weeks, events at this fairly typical nuclear plant have been spinning out of control — the latest in a very long series of developments that are reminding us how close to the edge the world really is. Since Sept. 11, 2001 we have lived through a decade of one calamity after the next. Just how many of the ‘one of the worst earthquakes ever’ can we have in a few years?

Heck, we’ll go back merely to the first week of January, when the prevailing news was birds falling out of the sky by the thousands and fish floating to the surface of streams. If that seemed a little ominous, it actually was; the day after we reported that, the shooting happened in Tucson. Then there was a wave of revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa. Then the corporate puppet Teabag party governor tried to shut down the public unions, leading to three weeks of the most massive U.S. protests since the 1960s. Some governments gave in; others started shooting at their people (Bahrain, Syria, Libya). Then came the quake and nuclear crisis in Japan, which, by the way, is every bit as serious as it was the first day; the threat of a meltdown is just as great. Radiation is leaking into the atmosphere, the groundwater, the oceans and has spread across half of Japan. Then the US, NATO and its allies went to war in Libya, with no plan to get out.

So, let’s be clear. While the world needs attention and its systems need updating and rethinking, and while things fall apart, those who have taken over society are spending most of their time making war and taking money. The two are related. And one way or another, this is affecting all of us: energetically, emotionally, spiritually, economically. If you happen to know people in Japan, you will be feeling that personally. If you’re one of many people who loves Japanese culture for some inexplicable reason, you are feeling this. If you live near a nuclear power plant, you’re feeling how vulnerable we are. You have probably never had to abandon your home and the pattern of your life as a refugee, but the way the world is, you may be able to relate to the feeling.

I don’t care how deep a person has their head stuffed in pillows as the alarm clock goes off again and again: everyone is feeling the global call to awakening. For some this is exciting, for some it’s annoying and for others it’s literally terrifying. As you watch videos of that tsunami sweeping away cars, tractor-trailers and warehouses full of goods, you realize the power of the natural world to impact our lives; the order of nature becomes apparent, and I think that’s liberating.

Planet Waves
Everyone’s favorite nuclear power plant operator.

It is easy to lose context in the midst of all of this; to lose connection with the greater scheme of existence. It’s also possible to be brought into connection with that greater scheme, with others who care, with others who want to grow and make a difference rather than freak out. I would remind you — maybe I don’t have to — that plenty of people are actually, genuinely scared. By that, I mean certain people among your coworkers, friends and neighbors, who are feeling the potential for everything to fall apart, or maybe even yourself. I mean kids who might have a clue what’s going on in the world, yet not fully understand or have a way to process the information.

One morning about 10 days ago, I woke up, looked out my bedroom window and saw the rain dripping from the neighbor’s roof. I was grateful it was not radioactive rain. Here is the truth. We may not be able to say that for long, and in fact there is a large, densely populated part of the world where rainwater is carrying elements like cesium and iodine. Tap water as far as Tokyo is contaminated, and radiation has turned up in many crops. Plutonium has escaped from Unit 3 and has been found outside the plant. Remember that there are numerous nuclear plants with the same design currently operating in the United States. I would note also that while actual increases in radiation are not apparent everywhere, there are some individuals who can feel an energetic breach like this, or an injury to the Earth, no matter where they are.

And here is something else: there may be a lot of people who just don’t care. Part of the skill of being alive now is not letting the zombies and the green, three-eyed space aliens get you down. Part of how you do that is by maintaining a sense of who you are. Note that this is not usually experienced as certainty but rather as an active question. Once you become comfortable with the question, you will be a lot more comfortable with who you are. If you keep asking the question the same way, you may get frustrated. Therefore events and astrology come along to shake up the whole matter — and that is what Mercury retrograde in Aries is about.

Here is a short summary of that transit, which goes from March 30 through April 23.

Mercury represents the mental environment. It is not merely the ‘theme of communication’ or ‘the mind’, but rather where consciousness intersects the world around us. The two patterns overlay one another and create a totally unique pattern within our minds. Because it’s so compelling, and dominates consciousness so thoroughly, we tend to associate this pattern not merely with what we are experiencing, but also with who we are.

Planet Waves
Chart for Mercury stationing retrograde.

Aries, where Mercury will be retrograde, has lots to say about who we are and who we think we are — and at the moment Aries is the scene of a revolution. When Mercury stations retrograde Wednesday there will be six major points collected there — the mean lunar apogee (Black Moon Lilith) on the Aries Point, Uranus one degree away, the Sun, Jupiter, Eris and Mercury. Not shown on any commercial chart is a point you’ve read about here — 1992 QB1.

Here are a few highlights:

Mercury is making a series of conjunctions to Eris. The furthest known planet from our Sun, Eris represents the personality chaos that marks our era in history. It’s the obsession with not knowing who we are. There is a lot of freedom in over-emphasizing that ‘you don’t know’ — such as being liberated from the need for authenticity. Once you tune into who you are, the next logical step is to stop bullshitting yourself and anyone else. Awareness of self implies commitment. You can gradually become powerful in that way that you always struggled with not being. Mercury is stationing retrograde very close to Eris. It’s just made a conjunction and over the next five weeks as the retrograde works out (the process is longer than the actual 24 or so days that Mercury’s apparent motion is in reverse), there will be two more. This is an opportunity to see your issues for what they are, and to assemble the seeming pieces of yourself into a cohesive idea.

Mercury is close to a conjunction with 1992 QB1. This is the planet that helps us get past the notion that ‘death rules’. I suggest we take a look at how deeply and unconsciously we accept that. In our current version of the world, whoever has the power to kill is the boss. Have you ever considered this one? Oh, Mr. Policeman has a gun. My husband might beat the snot out of me (and kill me). That nuclear power plant might blow up — we better treat the guy making millions off of poisoning our kids as a god. Taking that to another level, we are fond of the phrase, ‘death and transformation’. Oh, doesn’t that just make the notion of change sound like a wheelbarrowful of fun? 1992 QB1, as the first planet [ever] discovered beyond Pluto, offers another notion of change; another idea of transformation. Its energy feels more like gradually slipping into orgasm than someone coming along and saying, ‘change or die’. The thing is, this requires willingness.

Planet Waves
Tags on the wall, Kingston, NY. Photo by Eric Francis.

Mercury is making a series of conjunctions to Jupiter and oppositions to Saturn. This sounds like an experiment in understanding the difference between willingness and resistance. Human consciousness is not merely dualistic; it requires contrast to be able to sense distinction. People who either blur everything into one gray mess or see the world hotly polarized in stark black and white are not seeing the subtle shades. Jupiter and Saturn are more similar than most astrologers acknowledge, representing complimentary rather than contradictory energies. It just helps to know the difference between the way the water feels and the way the edge of the pool feels, and Mercury getting into the opposition of Jupiter and Saturn is here to offer us the sensation of that contrast.

Part of the contrast is the difference between self and other. Oppositions imply relationship. On the most basic level of astrology, Aries represents self and Libra represents other and our relationship to other. We now have a kind of revolution happening in the sign of self, complete with the planet of revolution (Uranus) right there. But we tend to get stuck in out-moded concepts of relationship and then caught in the confusion of not understanding why we feel so trapped. Conventional wisdom holds that there is no other way, except to seek self in other and then get stuck there. But at the moment the influence of self-awareness is so strong we’re likely to figure out that we don’t need another to be who we are; we can be who we are and relate to others if we want.

One last. The Moon is conjunct Neptune waaaaaaay at the end of Aquarius. There have been more than 150 Moon-Neptune conjunctions in Aquarius over the past 12 years or so, and now there are just a very few more before Neptune takes up residence in Pisces in 2012; and just one more before Neptune visits Pisces starting next week. Cutting a long story short, the conjunctions in this last degree of Aquarius are an opportunity to help us transform our emotional body into a living instrument tuned to subtle energies (rather than the sticky, heavy thing that we so often experience it to be). Most of what we think of as growth, transformation and healing involves our emotional body, which is the thing that tends to get stuck in the past no matter how smart we are. However, part of the challenge is about doing this at a time when there is an enormous emotional strain on the world, indeed many; it is daring to open up and let yourself feel at such a moment.

Mercury retrograde offers us many chances to shift our mental perspective as an experience and not merely as an intellectual concept. As you take this ride you can actually experience different sensations based on seeing the world differently, which is another way of feeling your own existence differently. That starts with consciously exploring with curiosity and willingness rather than resistance and judgment. Those are your basic choices. And in them more is contained than you may think — for example, we are actually face to face with the potential to spark a global awakening.

Catch you Friday with a weekly horoscope.

Yours & truly,

Eric Francis

PS, looking at the minor planets, there is also a triple conjunction of three asteroids — House, Hera and Memoria. It’s time for something other than jealousy, shame and control drama to rule the roost. True, one has to have some authentic confidence to allow in another idea. It’s possible, and it’s easier if we’re willing to consider the alternatives.

PPS, here is the article about the most recent Mercury station direct, in early winter. And here is the article about the corresponding Mercury station retrograde three weeks earlier.

Check this audio announcement for information about Eric’s

new e-book, Light Bridge: The 25-Year Span.

Planet Waves

Attention Light Bridge Subscribers: Light Bridge audio readings are now available for half the signs — the rest are coming soon! If you have not signed up yet, you may do so here. Everyone is invited to read the articles on the Light Bridge blog, which will update periodically. Customer reviews of Light Bridge are collecting here. Don’t miss the free audio introduction to the project that explains how I created these seven-year readings. To everyone: thank you for your patience while we completed the written phase of Light Bridge.


Light Bridge: The 25-Year Span

Dear Friend and Reader:

Planet Waves has just completed a digital compilation of my writing about 2012 dating back to 1987. It’s called Light Bridge: The 25-Year Span. The span extends from the Harmonic Convergence through to the winter solstice of 2012. [Here is an audio introduction. Here is the purchasing link. Note that this is a different project than the Light Bridge annual edition.]

Planet Waves

The articles in the collection are drawn from a number of sources, including Planet Waves and our various annual editions, as well as blog entries, my notebooks and one from an earlier book called 313. The book begins with a new piece that covers the history of the Harmonic Convergence and its possible influence on world events. I then present a retrospective of writing describing events that fit the pattern, either historic or philosophical, of how we approach the topic of irrevocable change. Even if you’ve read some of this writing before, the pieces will now come together when you see the ideas in context.

I have consistently treated the concept of 2012 as something we are creating now, even as time accelerates and we race toward the future. Different articles offer perspectives on the Mayan day count as well as the Western astrology associated with 2012. I am not making predictions; rather, my intent for all of these articles has been to focus our minds on the present moment and enter the future through immediate awareness. I am describing the process of opening up to the moment.

The book is beautifully illustrated with Mayan-inspired glyphs created by Carol McCloud.
These are like no artwork you’ve ever seen before. Light Bridge: The 25-Year Span comes with a separate file of historic charts. We have done our best to leave links to other sources embedded in the text.

As you may have read, Jose Arguelles, who created the Harmonic Convergence and first called attention to 2012, died Wednesday. According to his website, before he departed he said to his apprentice, Stephanie South, “I have done all that I could on this planet. I am being called to assist in the closing of the cycle from the Other Side.”

Arguelles was the author of The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology, which became a kind of platform for creating the Harmonic Convergence. He was also author of Dreamspell: The Journey of Timeship Earth 2013 which was a book and a game that came out in 1990. Dreamspell is an interpretation of Mayan daykeeping that teaches one to use the Mayan calendar in a practical, accessible way. Arguelles was the father of the current movement to adapt Meso-American calendar systems and other alternative models for considering time. In a sense, what we think of as time is really a prison that locks us into a time/money orientation of consciousness.

I was never Jose’s student, but his ideas have touched my life and informed my astrology through different teachers, friends and colleagues. We think it’s an intriguing synchronicity to be making this work available when so much attention is being given to Jose’s ideas.

Here is ordering information. Delivery is instant. The format is a downloadable PDF with images solid enough that they will print nicely.

Thank you for your interest. I think you’ll love this project. It’s been a lot of fun to create.

It’s only change —

Eric Francis

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