Planetary cycles resonate with the ebbs and flows of our individual lives and do not only appear as collective influences. In fact, the cosmic resonance between different existential forces acts primarily on the individual psyche, determining the “feeling patterns” which accompany us in our daily routines. It is quite important for the astrologer to keep an eye on both the macro and micro realities of human existence. Knowledge comes only partially through the observation and de-codification of worldly events, because the primary focus of astrological thought lies in perceiving our inner fluctuations and listening to what others have to say in regards to how they feel. After all, the old saying goes “As Above So Below“; these words remind us that it is important to keep in mind that the universal resonances act on all layers of our existence. No individual is in fact left behind, regardless of how society, politics, wealth, education, trends, fashion or religion have “shaped and depicted” him throughout life. The astrologer knows that an astrological consultation about the natal chart has the potential to bring out even the most hidden and unexpressed aspects of individual life; the client often asks for that information at a time when he or she is ready to embrace change and move on.
These are games of the universe in the form of utter synchronicity, yes!
Mercury and its cycle…
Mercury is the fastest-moving planet of the Solar System, as it orbits the closest to the Sun. Its cycle lasts about a week short of a Solar year, and it describes what could be called, in a very simplistic and reductive manner, the “cycle of reason“. Obviously this is a mere attempt at over-simplifying the importance of this astrological fellow, to give an immediate impression of its energetic influence to those readers of this article who do not know much of astrology. Being an inner planet, it always appears to us in the same “portion” of the zodiac as where the Sun is traveling, therefore “following” it by relative motion through the signs at varying speeds. Variations in Mercury’s rate of motion are dependent on many factors, the most important of which is the relative position between the Earth, the Sun and Mercury itself. In order to keep this article simple and straightforward, only the main cyclical phases are briefly analyzed here.
The Shadow period
Mercury is said to enter its shadow when it crosses the point of the next Direct station, which will follow the Sun-Mercury inferior conjunction. Similarly, when it exits the shadow, it crosses the point where it made its last Retrograde station, after the superior conjunction. In other words, the redirection of mental energy typical of any retrogradation of Mercury is manifest throughout the whole period between those two dates. However, those weeks have specific phases which accompany them.
- When Mercury gets aligned between the Earth and the Sun, it appears as if moving “backwards” against the zodiac, therefore it is said to be moving “retrograde”. Somewhere during that time a conjunction between the Sun and Mercury occurs, as the latter moves backwards through the zodiac, crossing the same longitude of our star. This is referred to as the “Inferior Conjunction” and it is to be regarded as the BEGINNING OF A NEW SUN-MERCURY CYCLE. Its whole astrological configuration, including the influences of other planets, sets the overall “mentality” of the months to come, until the next Inferior conjunction occurs.
- When Mercury aligns on the opposite side of its orbit, with the Sun standing between it and the Earth, a new longitudinal conjunction occurs, but this time the planet will be moving with direct motion. This is referred to as the “Superior Conjunction” and it marks a culmination in the Sun-Mercury cycle.
As with each cycle (see various examples in previous articles), every initial conjunction represents a moment of relative oblivion; though change is about to come – and we may get a clear feeling of it – its promises are still shrouded in mystery. The Sun-Mercury inferior conjunction (with Mercury moving retrograde), if it closely aspects a prominent planetary configuration of the natal chart, represents a moment in which we may find ourselves in need of important change. This is often related to our ideas, thoughts and social connections; this is after all a series of topics which are quite important during the era of social media communication and real-time information.
Myth and Reality
Mythological Hermes, the way Mercury was called by the Ancient Greeks, is a figure which perfectly represents the dynamics initiated by the cycle of astrological Mercury. As the “Messenger of the Gods“, Hermes appears as a quite dynamic figure, related to the transmission of information and the interconnection of Souls. It is his vivacity which bestows Hermes with the capacity to maintain its shape-shifting abilities. The symbolism associated is that of the “Trickster”, whom you may need to be wary of at times when he carries important pieces of knowledge with himself.
This allows us to understand how Mercury plays an important role in modern society, whose development seems to be getting more and more related to fast information exchanges, digital and multi-language content, and widely-accessible educational material.
The Astrological Cycle
The following dates give us a snapshot of the ongoing shadow of Mercury:
- Mercury has entered its shadow period on June 1st
- Mercury stations Retrograde on June 18th at 14Cancer46
- Mercury stations Direct on July 12th at 5Cancer30
- Mercury exits shadow period on July 26th
Let’s take a close look at the next Sun-Mercury inferior conjunction, which will occur on June 30th, at 9Cancer44.
Two astrological features are quite evident here:
- The Sun-Mercury conjunction squares Chiron in Aries
- This year’s second Jupiter-Pluto conjunction will have become exact (by retrograde motion) around that time as well.
In my previous articles I have explained how the retrogradations of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are possibly due to cause a reemergence of those issues which became so prominent in February-March. Such will allow society to make a few backward steps towards a deeper understanding of the present condition of humanity. The fact that the retrograde Jupiter-Pluto conjunction (the second of three exact hits) will be accompanied by the next Sun-Mercury alignment perhaps gives us an idea of the possibility for “new information” to come out in the global scene. Such information may prove to be extremely useful for humanity, nonetheless it will most probably carry some additional pain. This is because Chiron will form a very tight square to the Sun-Mercury conjunction from Aries, setting a specific tone for the following weeks.
When Chiron-Mercury aspects are involved, there is a feeling of inadequacy in uttering words, thoughts and ideas; confusion may be high, at a time when any piece of new knowledge may even hurt us. During those times, rational thought clashes with the need to redeem ourselves and come to terms with our inner wounds, while our most intimate uncertainties get exposed by the healing powers of Chiron.
The Global Scenario
It is likely that the world may get to know some deeper and more authentic truth about the current situation, as the Sun-Mercury conjunction coincides with the next Jupiter-Pluto alignment. These two heavy planets, in their ongoing rendez-vous in Capricorn, have temporarily crushed many people’s optimistic views and projections. It is probably helpful to note how the beginning of the Mercury’s current shadow of has brought out the results of an international investigation which claimed that China had withheld early COVID-19 data, delaying the international response. Coincidentally, a Presidential declaration marked the US breakup with the WHO. Those were not extremely powerful news, as they easily became shadowed by the ongoing protests which have been raging across the US (read “The Dance of Fire“), partially eclipsing the previous wave of “pandemic fear” and cross-continental rhetoric. As the new Sun-Mercury cycle approaches, we might find out more and more about this whole story.
The next Superior Conjunction will occur at 25Leo09 on August 17th this year, a period which may see us reaping any rewards, if any are to be collected, which derive from our commercial, intellectual or work-related endeavors. This is obviously a wide statement and, despite its generalized value, it does not help us understand what the conjunction actually means. Given the fact that no “opposition” can ever occur between Mercury and the Sun, as seen from Earth, the culmination phase of this very important cycle is considered to be the “external Solar alignment” of this fast-paced planet. If we think symbolically, the inferior conjunction represents a moment in which Mercury is “overtaken” by the Earth in its orbital journey around the Sun; this determines Mercury’s retrograde motion, seen from our planet. Retrograde phases of Mercury are often associated with periods of generalized upset and malfunctioning in life; issues are often said to be arising when Mercury turns on its steps, and, according to some, no major initiatives should ever be taken during those times. This is obviously NOT the case. I am aware that many Sun Sign astrologers strongly publicize this idea, probably because it is quite remunerative and glamorous, however there is much more to it all than meets the eye.
If a new contract is signed or a major purchase is made during a period in which Mercury is retrograde, it does not mean that we will have made an irreparable “mistake” and that we may soon need to completely make up our minds. This can’t apply in such a clear-cut manner at all. A newly-established business may become extremely successful even if you opened it when Mercury was retrograde. Similarly, a new car may be working perfectly for many years even if Mercury was retrograde when you bought it. Therefore, where can we find the Mercurial “trick” in this whole story?
If you open a new webpage while Mercury is retrograde, you can be successful at publicizing it, as long as you faithfully listen to the natural imprint your website acquired at the moment it was established. You may need to become aware of the need to deliver messages which have “introspective” qualities. If the website is about meditation techniques, there is high chance that it will thrive enormously, yet if you intend to make it a voraciously competitive motivational blog it may face some issues. Those “issues” are simply related to the possibility that retrograde Mercury may not carry “front-line activist” tendencies, but rather it primarily looks backwards, fostering knowledge and understanding through hindsight.
With retrograde Mercury in the birth chart one is normally inclined towards a more introspective way of rationalizing facts. There may be more cautiousness around our ideas, and understanding is achieved thanks to the support of inner resources. If a retrograde-Mercury person is not confident about his own intellectual abilities, there may be thousands out there who carry the same natal configuration, showing a high degree of ideological self-reliance. This depends on many factors which include the overall condition of Mercury within the birth chart, upbringing, the society one is grown within, education and so on.
The qualities of retrograde Mercury may in fact give a person the power to see beyond the boundaries of the most immediate reality, if other astrological configurations are supportive of that. The retrograde-Mercury person or organization does not tend to connect with the surroundings through immediate, outwardly-oriented communication, because his mind constantly seeks some kind of deeper understanding. Let’s consider a very simplistic example: if we apply this concept to the act of making an important purchase such as that of a house, this can signify that if the purchase is set to bring out those introspective qualities in us, it will result as a very successful one that has the potential to “feel right” in the long run. This could apply to the purchase of a retreat house by the lake on the mountains, for instance. This is an example which gives us an idea of how astrological thought works on the level of “meaning”, rather than “form”.
To summarize, if your birth chart or your start-of-business’ one have any planets or Angles around either 9 degrees Cardinal (Aries,Cancer,Libra, Capricorn) or 25 degrees Fixed (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), you might want to look for ways to enhance any information-related traffic which helps you in making a living. Especially if the former criteria is met, considering the peculiar Chironian signature which accompanies the inferior conjunction in June, there may be a need to prepare to let go of something which has been hurtful or insincere, in order to embrace a more authentic way of rationalizing facts and developing ideas.
Similarly, if any of your natal planets or Angles are placed around 5 and 14 degrees Cardinal the upcoming stations of Mercury will be particularly influential for you. Each station is generally felt as a period of temporary uncertainty, due to the several blockages which may hinder our business, travel plans or whichever area of life is addressed by the position and condition of natal Mercury. It is best to step back and release control during those times, otherwise mental exhaustion is risked, especially if the natal chart carries strongly Airy or Mercurial features.
Cover image: Mercury – Wikimedia Commons
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