Thrice-Greatest: The Transformative Power of Mercury Retrograde

The synodic cycle of Mercury completes a set of movements in approximately 116 days, repeated thrice within the 365-day calendar year. As the sway between Mercury and the Sun reaches exactitude, the triad repetition of this relationship forms an approximate triangle within the zodiacal sphere.

As the pirouette between The Messenger and Helios quickens, two pivotal unions occur, namely, the superior and inferior conjunctions. Firstly, the superius (Latin for ‘above’) or superior conjunction occurs during Mercury’s direct zodiacal sway. This cosmic rhythm starts as Mercury speeds beyond the solar rays, and roams before the Sun. Consequently, it is the inferius (Latin for ‘below’) or inferior conjunction that occurs during Mercury’s retrograde motion. During this union, Helios and The Messenger journey in opposite directions and Mercury rushes past the Sun with even more accelerated momentum.

“That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of One thing.” -Hermès Trismegistus (Thrice-Greatest), The Emerald Tablet

Although this famous passage is often misinterpreted to suggest that the causes of earthly events are embedded in the cosmos, there is dual correspondence in momentum (as below, so above and as above, so below). The passage’s implication is one of interaction, accentuating the unraveling of co-operative creation. In parallel, Mercury marks his strongest elongation above the horizon in the western evening sky prior to retrograde, vanishing below the horizon in conjunction with the Sun.

As a visual spectacle, Mercury’s retrograde motion is an act of in-visibility, synonymous with an oscillating odyssey into shrouded or hermetical realms. The transformative power of Mercury’s retrograde stems from its juxtaposition of four probabilities in a condensed time frame of about forty days: above, below, direct, and retrograde.

Mercury enters its shadow zone on July 7th, stationing retrograde on the 26th at 1:02 AM (EDT). This inferior conjunction (retrograde) will occur in fixed Leo. Although the Lion/ Queen/ King/ Child is adventurous, considering the entirety of the current cosmic screen, there is little confidence in risk-taking. Instead, this pathway is an opportunity for reassessment of our basic human needs for individuality/ self-expression, spiritedness, instinctive knowledge, and optimism. As part of the fire trinity, retrograde Mercury in Leo begins to re-evaluate current sources of creative fuel and inspiration, while blazing beyond the accumulated detritus of life in order to purge falsity.

Just as Mercury moves counter to its usual navigation during retrograde, the Jungian shadow contains features of our nature that move counter to the traditions and moral compasses of society. As per Jung, the nigredo, albedo, and rubedo is the concealed structure beneath the seeming chaos that accompanies Mercurial retrogrades, the passage to three worlds or the three primary aspects of the psyche: the tria prima of the Self.

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The Sea Goat’s Descent: Full Moon at 6° 28’ Capricorn

Update: The video segment for this lunation can be found here .


At 6°28′, Capricorn’s first face plunges into the earth’s bones with impervious density. Forced to contend with the depths of primal matter, the subtle layers of perception are pulverized. Here is Akephalos, The Headless One, with sight in his feet, but also Asklepios, the god of healing. As The Bull proliferates and The Virgin refines, The Sea Goat’s illimitable descent into earthly consciousness seeks to ameliorate the physical vessel.

The Capricorn lunation is domineered by The Gate Keeper, Saturn, via potent conjunction. Its gelid cloak is cast over Luna, enshrouding the luminary with the sobering importance of emotive obligation. In nature, Saturn’s vibration is cohesion: it binds in order to wield stability. Its glacial rings (up to -203° C/ -333° F) symbolize boundaries (within a certain radius), precisely structured to establish gravitational foundation. Symbolically, when Saturn’s rings approach the mutable Moon, we are required to analyze the underlying cause of loneliness, isolation, and general pessimism, particularly relative to domesticity. Adding a deeper layer of introspection, retrograde Saturn can force us to confront internal discord between self-perception and idealism.*

At 6°19′, fixed star Kaus Borealis conjoins the Moon. The northern star in The Archer’s Bow, illuminated by the spirit-blaze of Jupiter-Mars, is associated with promoting mental stimuli, enterprise, and a sense of justice. Likewise, this star influences the promotion of idealistic and humanitarian endeavors. At 8°18′, Facies, The Archer’s Eye, also conjuncts Luna, a nebula charged by Jupiter-Pluto, which traditionally holds violent cosmic symbolism. Indicative of penetrating action, Facies can manifest as either fortuitous leadership or ruthless tyranny. Conjunct the Moon, Facies cautions against ‘violence or turmoil’ and indicates the potential for embodying either ‘the sadist, or the humanitarian’ (the latter benefitting children or minorities). [Brady, p.167]

In Aries, Chiron’s challenging square to the Sun, Moon, and Saturn
stirs injuries of courage and assertion. Repressed anger surfaces as Mars (ruler of Aries) is retrograde and conjunct the karmic South Node. While retrograde Saturn activates guilt stemming from the past, retrograde Mars-South Node revisits emotionally charged scenarios having lacked the necessary fortitude of self-support amidst adverse conditions. However, Chiron’s strengthening trine to Mercury in (anaretic) Cancer and the Leo North Node provides opportunity to compassionately voice our truth.

As final dispositor of the Full Moon in Capricorn, retrograde Saturn internalizes lessons that structure the equilibrium of the Cancer-Capricorn axis. In order to solidify the foundation of our domestic and vocational spheres, Saturn’s vibration implores that we analyze the condition of our personal goals relative to our intimate lives. If this axis is imbalanced, we can expect Saturn’s uncomfortable presence to dispel, by any means necessary, aspects of our lives that either neglect the importance of our inner worlds or compromise the pursuit of worthy goals. Realize that Saturn does not function through the emotional lens of Cancerian nurture: The Time Keeper imparts lessons through detached discipline. Instead, Saturn rewards laborious diligence, maturation, stoicism, and the solidity of our life’s structures. Use the Saturnian sway of this lunation to re-structure areas of your life that no longer align with your potential, intimately and in unison with the fulfillment of honorable work.

*Technically, Luna trines Uranus, although weak in influence due to its wide orb (4°33).

The Full Moon in Capricorn occurs on:

  • June 27th, 2018, at 9:52 p.m. PST, day of Mercury and hour of Venus.
  • June 28th, 2018, at 00:52 a.m. ET, day and hour of Jupiter; 4:52 a.m. GMT, hour of Venus.

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Moon Square Mercury in the Natal Chart: The Emotive Hostage

When the Moon squares Mercury in the natal chart, the intellect is essentially hijacked by Luna, the emotive sphere of experience. While the mind finds it challenging to cease repetitive thought patterns, it incessantly assimilates information through an emotional lens. I discuss the unraveling of this aspect, its relation to the native’s mother, and offer a few recommendations for its amelioration here.

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The Stellar Sword: New Moon at 22° 44’ Gemini

The Gemini New Moon accentuates the fortitude of ideas and language as potent creators of reality. The renewing energy of the New Moon summons self-reflection, thriving on The Twins’ ability to view situations through boundless perception. However, at 22° 44′ of Gemini, it also heralds the final zenith of The Twins’ polarization. The scope of internal and external bifurcation demands a choice, dissolving the incessant duality of Castor and Pollux.

During this lunation, eight fixed stars Bellatrix, Mintaka, Ensis, and Alnilam, Capella, Phact, El Nath, and Al Hecka) in four constellations (Orion’s Belt, Auriga, Columba, and Taurus) join the Sun and Moon (from 21-25° Gemini). Essentially, this lunation is positioned in the most active section of the sky pertinent to fixed stars. While the New Moon remains unaspected, aside from a minor quincunx to Pluto (at over 2° orb), it perches precisely between fixed stars Mintaka and El Nath, at a mere distance of 0°10′. According to Robson, in Orion’s Belt, Mintaka is a fixed star of fortune and protection. Conjunct the Sun and Moon, Mintaka promotes enduring happiness (as well as notoriety) while influencing discretion, caution, and (an oscillating) yet sharp and alert business sense. Fixed star El Nath, positioned at the tip of The Bull’s horn, is associated with the destructive potential that either annihilates or bestows life. As noted by Brady, in paran with Luna, El Nath indicates a fighter acquainted with the violence (or ‘cruelty’) of life. The brightest of the eight stars is Capella, associated with nurture and ‘free-spirited flavour’ (Brady). Linked to Artemis, goddess of the hunt, Capella embodies action and movement. In paran with the Sun and Moon, fixed star Capella seeks freedom and independence while improving quality of life (Brady).

The Moon’s ruler, Mercury, resides with maternal Cancer in mutual reception, heightening emotional intelligence and merging depth of knowledge with cerebral analysis. In communication, tone takes precedence over content, encouraging the intuitive capacity to extrapolate the core-centered message of language. Verbal expression is best exercised compassionately and empathically, as the mutual reception of Luna and Mercury can propel defensive reactions and overt sensitivity.

Reactivity is further accentuated by Mercury’s tight square with Chiron at 2° Aries and its opposition to Saturn at 6° Capricorn (reaching exactitude on 6/15/18), constituting a tense T-Square. Mercury-Chiron can strain communications, including the use (or perception) of injurious words. Underlying doubt regarding the efficacy of problem-solving may surge, misunderstandings are probable, and the meaning of communication may be challenging to decrypt. We are wise to be conscious of the power of language to either harm or heal. There is potential for resolution of past injuries along with reclamation of personal authority if we choose to confront pain with courage. Additionally, the Mercury-Saturn opposition echoes the severity of conscientiously determined decision-making (Saturn) relative to the notion of home, family, and personal relationships (Mercury in Cancer). However, as Saturn casts its gelid cloak of fear upon potentially overt critical thinking, hesitation, and cyclical thought-patterns enshrouded in negativity, there is opportunity for awareness. Saturn’s illusory veil of impossibilities also grants freedom if the willingness, labor, and persistence exists to recognize (and rectify) destructive patterns. As Time Keeper and karmic debt collector, Saturn provides the psyche’s liberty through maturation, hard work, and perseverance.

As the chart’s final dispositor, out-of-bounds Mercury, journeying beyond its usual scope of declination (from 6/6/18-6/24/18), heralds expansion past the usual boundaries of perception. The broadening of the mind’s eye, transcending the limits of orthodox stagnation, invites visionary insights that pierce through quotidian perimeters. Energetic portals to pioneering creativity are further amplified by Mercury’s electric sextile to Uranus (at 1° Taurus). Authentically voicing the virtue of our thoughts with empathy and compassion strengthens the coupling of Mercury and Uranus through the vehicle of transcendent communication.

The New Moon at 22° Gemini is atypical via decan, triplicity, and the multitude of retrograde planets journeying during this lunation. While New Moons traditionally encourage the birth of new endeavors, this Moon focuses more on the power of discernment, nurture (or amelioration from past wounds), and preparatory measures aligning with adequate timing. Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, currently retrograde, will be followed by Neptune and Mars (on 6/18/18 and 6/26/18, respectively). Therefore, adjusting existing trajectories via internal reflection is paramount during the Gemini New Moon. As ruler by triplicity, Saturn reminds us of the severity behind choices. At decan III, The Twins’s polarity must mitigate in order to achieve unity. Proceed wisely, as Luna’s effects echo well into July’s (partial) solar eclipse.

The New Moon in Gemini occurs on June 13th, 2018, at 3:43 PM (ET)

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