we are heading into our 3rd mercury retrograde of 2022! this one spans from 8’55 libra to 24’11 virgo- so this Underworld cycle of the Winged Messenger is focusing on relationships, contracts, balance and partnerships (libra) as well as work, work relationships, routines, organization, health and well being (virgo).
mercury entered front end shadow on august 20th and the very next day he opposed retrograde neptune in pisces (which happens only once). the first aspect a planet makes after entering shadow colors the whole Underworld journey – and the neptune vibe is significant because mars’ Underworld journey (front end shadow starts 9/2) involves 3 squares to neptune.
hard neptune aspects remind us that not all is at it seems and there can be much going on beneath the surface. it is easy to be deluded, deceived, checked out, escapist, turning to addictions to numb out or spiritually by pass. there is much going on behind the veil of illusion and we need to cultivate the antidote to too much neptune/pisces- DISCERNMENT (a great virgo trait).
there are two other signatures in this mercury retrograde cycle that are important- the first being the double opposition to jupiter in aries (9/2 and 9/18) right around the retrograde station (9/9). when a planet is stationing and making an aspect twice- it’s kind of like one long massive aspect that lasts weeks instead of days. mercury/jupiter can be wonderful for travel, learning, teaching, expansion and going for it! but as this is an opposition we can also have oppositional energies playing out with others.
mercury’s opposition to jupiter happens when he is in libra- and while libra values collaboration, relationship and compromise- aries values independence, self focus and focusing on one’s own path. this can magnify where these polarized positions are playing out in relationships and even within ourselves- where does one part of us value partnership and collaboration, but another part of us needs freedom and independence? the key is in balance but jupiter has the tendency to magnify and even exacerbate things- bringing to a head what has been swept under the carpet.
the other major signature is when mercury stations direct again on 10/2 he makes a double quincunx to eris in aries (9/29 and 10/4). this one is tighter- making the window last 6 days versus the 16 day period for mercury/jupiter. this means the backend of this mercury retrograde packs an extra punch. eris is the Goddess of Discord and Chaos, but she is also an activist and warrior. she takes a stand for Truth, pulls back the veil to reveal shadow- and she does it all without caring what others think of her for doing so. she is not hear to keep the peace at any cost or sweep things under the carpet- she is hear to reveal what is behind the scenes no one is looking at! it will be interesting to see what is going on in the news around these dates.
it is also interesting to see the two major station signatures both involved planets in the sign of aries. aries is the sign of mars- the God of War. he is pure passion, fire and has agency but he is also combative, argumentative, aggressive and even violent. we want to be aware of how we are running our mars/ego energies in the coming weeks and months- as too much fire can burn the house down (a metaphor but this astrology could play out with wildfires).
luckily the other major signature of mercury’s descent involves a triple trine to pluto- the middle one on 9/26 when mercury is retrograde involves a beautiful conjunct to venus who is also trine pluto (9/26-9/27). these are excellent days for research, investigation, therapy and getting to the bottom of things. heart to heart talks where there is honest sharing of thoughts and feelings- as well as listening to those of others- can help us to find the path towards greatest evolution and transformation.
the first aspect right after entering front end shadow was with neptune, once mercury exits back end shadow on 10/17 he heads to oppose chiron. this speaks to taking of the rose colored glasses and/or veil of illusion and seeing clearly- and it also speaks to the healing conversations that need to be had to clarify and shift relationships OR possibly end them entirely if a healing connection is no longer possible (or perhaps, never was?).
pay attention to september 23rd as the sun/mercury conjunction that marks the midway point of the whole Underworld journey occurs just a couple days before the new moon in libra near the same degrees. important communications, information, big reveals are all possible. stay open to seeing/hearing the Truth as well as speaking it. the neptune illusion energy is not just about others or the media being deceptive – it can also be about our own self delusion or where we are not being above board and honest with others. seeing the Truth within is key to seeing the Truth without- it is best done with eyes wide open ;)
i titled this blog ‘finding the right balance of service to others and service to self’. in truth this balance must be struck or we will over give/enmesh/be codepdendent (too much libra/virgo) or we will be overly selfish and self focus (aries). what is the right balance for you? where is your growth edge?
i leave you with the star sparks degree for the station degrees- both station retrograde on 9/9 and station direct on 10/2. i particularly love the 2nd – both both are evocative! you can read them below.
p.s. mars retrograde blog will be up soon!
by ellias lonsdale
(station retrograde degree)
A cook fixing vegetable soup from a myriad of ingredients
Containing and wielding the life force in its most irrepressible form. Gifted beyond
measure in juggling so many variables, it will set any wheel to spinning. Doing this dance
with big heart sustenance. Feeling one’s way into and through any and every world, in
any and every combination they can come together within.
Such a creative force becomes a responsibility to expand into the most unusual
and least parochial stance and expression. Everything depends upon broadening the
base of allegiance and affinity. When the context and framework is too familiar, too
limited, too predictable, this passionate exuberance turns too much. But whenever there
is something new and different to encompass and to love, the field of manifest
expression takes on a quality of novelty, hopefulness, or avid expectancy.
A special danger of becoming fascinated by this level of experience can come
into play. This is hard to bypass. It is so colorful, so aromatic, so redolent with
remarkable sensations and impressions. Yet it is meant to be a self-giving, a free
action of letting everything through generously and lightly, and this requires a
surrendered, perpetually surprised, youthful attitude to do what it does best.
The aptitude is for orchestrating the occasion with effortless ease. Being a host,
a Maître d’, all of this can be given with grace, with a verve, with an extra dimension of
willingness to venture, to try anything, to go anywhere, to experiment, to see what can
Once this level is fully embodied, it metamorphoses into something else. It takes
on the magic of enjoying the way that all beings and worlds are in a loving flow with
each other which can spring forth into blooming when it is beheld with sparkling interest
and fostered to spill over into going all the way with what is emergent, what needs to
happen next. This can be at any level, even into the most boundless vistas.
(station direct degree)
A gold ring in the form of a snake swallowing its tail
Being bound and determined to complete the karmic wheel and to make way for
spirit to lead beyond the individual and the personal into the universal and the infinite.
Feeling extremely committed to the process of fathoming all karmic lessons and moving
on, taking up this path at the level of wakeful engagement. Yet also terribly burdened by
one pivotal consequence of doing it this way.
The picture inside of the way the destiny is intended to unfold is so vivid and
formidably held that it is virtually impossible to feel reconciled to the twists and turns the
path takes. We hold before our inner eye what we have agreed to take on and we will
not stop keying on this; obsessing upon its vital necessity. So we run great risk of
tyrannically enforcing a code of ‘should’ and ‘must’, tripping up the process by making it
far too top heavy with the way it’s supposed to turn out.
Over and again, we must return to the place of the novice, the beginner, the one
who meets destiny from a naïve and open position. Only then can we mediate between
a vast cosmic knowingness and a relatively retarded level of what we come up against
along our way. In order to support ourselves faithfully and steadily, we need to trust in
the basic little self and its primal process.
We are left with little choice but to uncover a beginner’s mind and approach our
path with child eyes. When we get smart and ambitious, we burn out on all the shoulds
which push us down. When we stay open and embracing of shadow, we can track with
ourselves with utmost effectiveness and synchronization. We are brilliant at staying with
this track, as soon as we drop all ideas about it.