Zoom in, Zoom Out: Mercury Opposite Jupiter

We’re now in the last quarter phase of the Moon; it is waning toward the Gemini New Moon, which occurs in about a week. Before we arrive, Mercury makes an opposition to Jupiter, exact on Thursday. This happens once a year, but this year it’s rather special — each planet is in a sign it rules: Mercury in Gemini and Jupiter in Sagittarius.


A close encounter with Jupiter, from NASA’s recent Juno mission. Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran.

These two bodies are to some extent natural opposites in astrology. For one thing, their home signs are across from one another on the zodiac wheel. Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo; Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Sagittarius and Pisces.

Between them, they complete the mutable cross. Secondly, they represent contrasting ideas. Mercury, the quick, variable inner planet, presides over small matters and detail. Jupiter, the far slower giant of the Solar System, is the lord of all things great, magnificent and expansive.

As the pair approach their meeting, consider how these themes may be appearing in your life. Specific interactions with other people may bring them into particular focus. If you’re an artist or creative thinker, the union of the great and small may be useful and inspirational — combining the big ideas with the details needed to carry them out. This transit is also said to be useful for things like planning sessions, contract negotiations and conferences, for the same reasons.

Here’s the tricky part, though: Mercury and Jupiter are also in a square to Neptune in Pisces. (Incidentally, Neptune is the modern co-ruler of Pisces.) Neptune brings two different potential influences to the situation this week. The first is a sense of generosity and the urge to live one’s ideals in practice. The second is that Neptune can represent an impressionistic take on things when what you really need is be distinct and clear; it could be easier to misrepresent or withhold information.

While that presents some contradiction to the idea that Mercury-Jupiter may be good for business dealings, Neptune’s presence really just emphasizes a dynamic already existent in this opposition: that you need to keep negotiating between the big picture and the details this week. This is the best way to stay clear in your own mind, which will help you to be clear in communicating with others — and should help you to spot when someone is not being clear or upfront with you.

To put it another way: you need to keep your viewpoint flexible, so you can adjust as you receive new information. Adjusting is not the same as contradicting yourself; it just means toggling between the close-up view and the long or broad view — and then taking a look in reverse, or from above or below.

Staying fluid while also keeping a firm grasp on reality-based facts does not always feel easy in this day and age. It can seem like nothing is real, at the same time that anyone can believe anything, at the same time that people claim a polarized viewpoint and hang on like a terrier who’s caught a rat — even if there’s another rat to catch, or some steak being offered.

It is possible to be thorough and yet still allow optimism to buoy your efforts. If you feel stuck on one side of the coin or the other, all it takes is a flip (or maybe a short step) to see the other side. Then you get the privilege of using your marvelous brain to integrate the two into the whole you’re seeking; the whole that you, in fact, represent.

— Amanda Painter and Amy Elliott

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