Mercury Retrograde, Pisces Season, And Taking Care Of Your Health

I had this article in mind early last week but am only posting it now because, as luck would have it, I became terribly sick myself with type A influenza ( the virulent strain circulating this year that has resisted the effects of vaccines.) Astrology, you so funny….

This is that time of year in the northern hemisphere, outbreaks of contagious illnesses would be occurring whether or not the astrology was there to support it. Unfortunately, the astrology is there to support it. We are gradually entering Pisces season, with Mars already in the sign, joined by Venus earlier this morning. We will be working our way to a Pisces stellium on February 18, with the Sun, New Moon, Venus, Mars, Neptune and Chiron all in the the delicate sign. ( Venus and Mars both move into Aries February 20, which will shake off the density of the stellium.)

Pisces isn’t a sign usually associated with robust good health in the first place. The Mercury retrograde isn’t helping much either, messing with communication and mental processes. ( Funnily enough, I completely lost my voice and have yet to regain it; from what I’ve observed recently vocal problems seem more frequent now.) During a Mercury retrograde, misdiagnosis and medical errors are more common as well. It doesn’t meant a misdiagnosis will happen, but it is certainly more likely. If you receive medical advice now and something about it seems off, don’t hesitate to go for a second opinion, or to do follow up testing once Mercury is direct ( on Wednesday, February 11.)

The bigger trouble spots are around January 30/31 and February 18, at the time of the Pisces stellium. On Friday, January 30 Venus in Pisces will square Saturn in Sagittarius at 3 degrees around 2:23 a.m. CST. The next day, Mars will reach an exact conjunction with always painful Chiron at 15 degrees Pisces at 2:23 p.m. ( Asteroid Eros will be in the conjunction as well, as Eros will be moving in lockstep with Mars for the duration of its transit through Pisces.) While health issues in general will be more delicate than usual from now until end of February, it may be a bigger issue around these times. While any health issue may arise from these influences, it it more likely they will be health issues related specifically to Pisces and affected by Mercury retrograde. Pay special attention to these areas during this period:

– Sexual problems (Mars-Eros-Chiron conjunct)

– Fluid buildup in organs and tissues

– Congestion in lungs and stuffy/congested ears

– Swelling, edema and fluid retention

– Circulatory issues

– Problems with the lymphatic system,  including infection and/or lack of proper drainage

– Feet and ankle trouble of every kind

– Dehydration and urinary or kidney retention

Sensitivity is a keyword with Pisces, so overdoing anything now isn’t a good idea, be it food, drink, drugs, tobacco, pharmaceuticals or even sugar or caffeine. If you do find yourself unwell, gentle cleanses and exercises such as stretching, walking and dancing (with Pisces, especially dancing!) will help clear the system. Homeopathy or alternative healing methods may work better than modern ones, or at least complimentary to modern ones to speed up healing.  If you can’t handle something now- don’t! Whether it is mental ( Mercury retrograde), emotional ( Venus and Chiron in Pisces), or physical  (Mars/Eros in Pisces), give yourself plenty of rest from the daily grind. Listen to your body and heed its warnings to slow down or stop.

Real Time Astrology: New Moon in Aquarius January 20, 2015

On Tuesday, January 20 at 7:14 a.m. Central Standard Time we will experience the New Moon at zero degrees Aquarius, the next in a series of New Moons – beginning in October 2014- that have taken place at zero degrees of their sign ( see tag: new moon). This New Moon in Aquarius will be heavily influenced by a number of other astrological factors: an exact conjunction between Mars and Neptune in Pisces the preceding day; the Mercury retrograde through Aquarius the following day; Aquarius’ ruling planet Uranus- in Aries and still squaring off with Pluto in Capricorn- squaring the South Node in Aries shortly before the New Moon.

This New Moon will not go unnoticed. It is strong at zero degrees of Aquarius and knows what it wants, what needs to be done.  It wants both independence and camaraderie, in equal doses. It wants an original perspective on our situations, on how we go about obtaining our goals for the future. It wants to question whether it really is necessary that we need to strive so much for what we end up with; are we cheating ourselves by accepting certain rules and roles? It wants only what is relevant for the times we’re in and for the times we’re moving in to. It will be looking for common ground and can suddenly change direction if it finds it. It wants, more than anything, to disrupt once and for all stagnant waters and finally allow fresh, clear headed vision back in.

Startlingly electric this New Moon at zero degrees Aquarius will be. It will, however, be working on a different plane than the other influences. There will be a distinct feeling of different areas of our lives and personalities operating on different levels and at different speeds during this moon phase. The message of the New Moon may lose something in translation, as Mercury stationing retrograde in Aquarius plays havoc with our brains and our mouths. We know what we feel, but saying it is a different story. The considerable disruption will of course frazzle nerves. The usual outlet of this energy, Mars, will not be channeling the energy as healthfully as it could, in Pisces and conjunct Eros and Neptune. We may find ourselves caught off guard by surprise anger, both in ourselves and in others, that seem to come from somewhere much deeper than initially appears. There may be petty fights that stem from a much larger sore point that remains ignored or unseen. There may be lashing out at undeserving targets, or playing the victim. It won’t be easy to trace the source of every trigger point and, even if we can trace the source of some, it won’t be easy to find a healthy way to release the pressure.

What is needed the most, but will be the hardest to pull off, is the ability to pick and choose your battles. With the strong Aquarian influence, with Uranus in Aries activating the Aries South Node, there will be an unbearable desire for independence in some areas of our life. Our survival instinct will be heightened and we’ll be wanting to shake off anything we perceive as restricting. Though the North Node in Libra is telling us that nothing is ever really accomplished by going it alone, that may be a hard message to hear now. Things may get tense, terse and confusing as the North Node in Libra pushes us towards love, peace and balance while the South Node in Aries, strained by the square from Uranus in Aries, urges us to fight savagely – both literally and figuratively- for those very things.

Passions and emotions will be running hot and cold. You may feel inspired, only to find an icy reception if you reach out. It may be that it is you who cools off around people who you usually have affection for. Friends, loose acquaintances and strangers may feel more like family than actual family and loved ones. As the New Moon in Aquarius seeks out common ground, we may feel loneliness if we feel we cannot find any in the people around us. Attitudes towards relationships and emotional involvement will likely fluctuate. Its important to keep this in mind, as both Mercury retrograde and Mars conjunct Neptune will be causing people to verbalize strong opinions they may not fully believe in at the time. If you don’t fully trust what you are saying, there’s plenty of reason to keep quiet for a time.

The house in your natal chart that this New Moon falls in is where you are most likely to experience disruption and a need for independence. The house that the Mars-Eros-Neptune conjunction falls in simultaneously shows where you can best express any tension from this moon, and where you may be expressing misdirected anger.  Disruption is not usually welcomed but it does not necessarily have to be awful, either. Being shook up is a necessary tool to remind us that we are still alive, vital and electric. Though the cosmic energies are going about things in very different ways, in many ways the goal is the same: to propel our lives forward on a trajectory in line with our desires and dreams, to see our internal goals and wishes reflected in the world around us, and to share in this with kindred spirits.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius January 21-February 11, 2015

If you’ve been feeling dumber than a box of rocks lately, or have been experiencing embarrassing misunderstandings, the good news is that it’s about to get much worse! We are in the shadow of the logistical nightmare known as the Mercury retrograde: an event that happens a few times each year for an average of 3 weeks or so, during which Mercury’s forward trajectory appears to reverse and travel backwards instead. The retrograde will take place entirely in the sign of Aquarius; beginning at 17 degrees Aquarius on Wednesday, January 21 at 9:54 a.m. Central Standard Time and ending at 1 degree Aquarius on Wednesday, February 11 at 8:57 a.m.

Mercury rules, among other things: travels (usually short trips), transportation, communications of every kind, verbal and mental exchanges, media, news, mental thought processes, and daily interactions. These are all trouble spots during a Mercury retrograde. Retrograde periods are a time of looking back, a time to review and reflect; not a time of moving forward. As such, Mercury retrograde periods can be a frustrating and nerve racking time, as our plans, thoughts and the details of everyday life seem to turn into a jumbled mess.

Certain rules apply during every Mercury retrograde, regardless of the sign or any aspects it makes. The biggest one: don’t sign papers or binding contracts, or make binding verbal agreements, if at all possible. Pertinent details are often obscured or overlooked during the retrograde period and can cause trouble when they emerge after Mercury turns direct. As this retrograde takes place at the beginning of the tax season in the U.S., it would be wise to put off filing your taxes until this influence is over, if possible. There are other potentially troublesome energies at work before we reach the tax deadline in April, but realistically we can’t put off real life for every bumpy transit. I still recommend putting off taxes until after Mercury is direct, as it is notorious for creating problems with paperwork in general. Aquarius is a fixed sign, so trying to straighten out kinks created during this retrograde may be more problematic than usual.

Some dates and aspects to be aware of during this period:

January 21- retrograde begins with a conjunction to the Moon in Aquarius

January 27 – Mercury trines the North Node in Libra, sextiles Uranus in Aries

January 30 – Sun conjuncts Mercury

February 2/3 – Mercury opposes the Moon in Leo before it becomes a Full Moon

February 5 -Mercury sextiles Saturn

February 10 – The Moon in Scorpio squares Mercury as it stations direct

These are times when the effects of the Mercury retrograde will be felt the strongest, both internally and in our outer lives. Though a Mercury retrograde is never smooth sailing, this will likely not be as rough a retrograde as usual. Mercury is efficient in Aquarius. It works like a scientist or mechanic taking apart the engine/ computer etc. to see how everything really works, the interplay between the parts and the whole. It can observe without becoming too deeply involved which is excellent for impartial troubleshooting. You can extend this metaphor to any area of your life during this time. Mercury retracing its path through Aquarius may bring considerable disruption to proceedings, but it can also bring insights and new understandings as a direct result of this chaos.

The ultimate goal during Mercury retrograde in Aquarius is to arrive at a better understanding and draw more sophisticated conclusions in matters such as: our autonomy, our need for personal space and independent interests, our free will vs. the will of our personal and collective societies, friendships, group efforts, the future we are moving into. At its best, this influence will allow us to work through the rough patches we have found ourselves stuck in without becoming overwhelmed by the effort. We can view things from a safe distance, and can go it alone and with others in turns.

That’s the ideal, anyway. As retrogrades are not generally fun for most, you can the typical bad moods that arise from people’s style being cramped. Some people will be contrary for the sake of being contrary. Intellectual rigidity may be an issue as well. Hypocrisy will simultaneously increase in some and become less tolerable from others. Try to use humor to diffuse tense moments; Mercury retrograde always gives a sense of silly drunkenness and episodes of giggly fits, and in Aquarius the humor can be very weird, wonderful and original.

Aquarius is associated with technology, so one way to use this influence positively is to use technology to network, revive interest in shared causes and efforts,  or to rekindle friendships that have been ignored lately. People who may not have interested you before may seem interesting now; if so, don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation as both parties may gain something from the exchange. Though this is a good time to use technology to connect or reconnect, the technology itself will not be functioning as smoothly and communication interruptions should be expected as a result. Proofread as much as you can before hitting “send” or “publish” to save pain and/or embarassment… ( I’ll try to take my own advice, but no promises.) This is also a good time to review your involvement in social media as well as your social circle in general. Are you really involved in something that serves a purpose in your life, or are you wasting time that could be better spent with other people?

If some media stories seem off kilter during this time, there’s probably a reason behind that feeling. Headlines may not be as factually accurate as they are presented to be and “facts” will likely change after Mercury turns direct. The more public figures feed the flames of a particular topic, the more I’d be skeptical of their agenda.

Real Time Astrology: January 11-19, 2015

You’re not alone if you currently feel washed out, faded. We hit some flat notes at the start of 2015 and the winter/Capricorn season doldrums are in full swing. January has some out-of-synch cosmic energy and, while we will still be faced with tense trigger points, the middle-to-end of the month will provide a healthy, inspiring dash of romance and glamour to break up the foul mood and remind us that the magic in life surrounds us every day.

The good times start off with a conjunction between Mercury and Venus in Aquarius (at 9 and 10 degrees, respectively) exact on Sunday, January 11 at 11:33 p.m. Central Standard Time. Our hearts and our minds will be working in tandem around this time, allowing us to better verbalize and process the wants and needs of our hearts. We can freely give and more gracefully receive love; romantic love, of course, but also love of people in the world around us. Social graces are highlighted here, so strive to be the bigger person in conflicts if any arise. Snarkiness or underhanded behavior will be much less tolerable. Venus will sextile Uranus in Aries Tuesday the 13th at 2:12 p.m. followed by Mercury’s sextile to Uranus the next day at 4:25 a.m. I wouldn’t be surprised to see unexpected love statements around this time. If you’ve been contemplating speaking out about something in your love life, you may be the one surprising people. Even if romance isn’t on your agenda, making an effort to be more pleasant, sociable and emotionally demonstrative will be personally satisfying.

Underscoring this light pleasantness will be an opposition between Venus in Aquarius and Jupiter in Leo, exact at 19 degrees on Monday, January 19 at 7:44 a.m. There is a considerable warmth, optimism and infectious good mood with this one. Our ideals in love and relationships can be seen in a larger vision. A bit of attention seeking behavior may come with this, but not necessarily in a bad way. It can be wonderful for those who are usually shy or reserved in matters of the heart, or for those who feel they’ve been overlooked in the recent past. This is a nice time to put your personality on display; your quirks may seem more charming than off putting, and you may notice more- and become attracted to- the charming quirks of others. Venus-Jupiter may represent financial changes for some; if you experience this negatively, you may be able to turn it around if you’re savvy enough to look for opportunity.

The true romance and glamour begin Monday, January 12, as action/energy planet  Mars and sex/passion asteroid Eros both move into watery, emotional Pisces. Mars and Eros will be conjunct for the entire transit of Mars in Pisces ( Mars leaves Pisces and enters Aries February 19; Eros does the same February 27.)  Mars expresses itself in abstract ways in Pisces, and prefers to express itself through the arts, music, dance, spirituality, and sex. With Mars conjunct Eros, especially sex. Pisces is a sign acutely sensitive to pain and suffering and always looks to heal or let go of the pain. It also tries to merge itself with others, with beauty, with Love, with the universe. As the Mars-Eros conjunction reinvigorates our sexuality, our lust for life and love, the deep connections between love and spirituality,  we may be reminded of our shortcomings and sufferings in the more intimate areas of our life. Let it happen; its part of the process. There may be equal doses of bitter with the sweet but the bitter will not dominate. Merging everything together can be a richly rewarding spiritual experience. It goes without saying that this is an important influence for couples, but you do not need to be partnered to gain something from this. Your passions and your soul desires are yours, whether coupled or single. You can enjoy the experience of losing yourself to something higher regardless of your relationship status.

Feel good escapism of every kind will appeal with this transit; it can be very healthy in reasonable doses but obviously unhealthy if not kept in check and allowed to interfere with daily life.

Daily life may lose some of its appeal with this transit. A rude awakening may be the square between Mars in  Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius at 2 degrees on Thursday, January 15, exact at 1:10 a.m. Reality may slap us in the face, leaving us feeling frustrated, as if we’re spinning our tires in the mud. Outer progress in general may feel stymied by Mars in Pisces, as direct action usually becomes thwarted. Our frustrations at our perceived lack of advancement around the Mars-Saturn square may leave us feeling unable to cope with harsh realities. This may be a dark, depressing moment in spite of the magic from the other transits. Mars in Pisces sometimes has a funny way of not standing up for itself, or passively accepting defeat too easily. Fight the urge to throw your hands up in despair if the Mars-Saturn square throws challenges your way. If you can’t move the obstacles, and you can’t give up… try to flow around it. It may take abstract courses of actions to move ahead.