Mercury Retrograde in Gemini May 18 – June 11, 2015

That glitchy, chaotic, and frustrating period known as a Mercury retrograde will be here before we know it, wreaking its usual havoc with our minds and mouths, creating logistical nightmares and communication errors. The last Mercury retrograde (read here) and the first for 2015 was in an air sign,  in uber cerebral Aquarius, a sign in which Mercury spent an extended amount of time.  This retrograde period in May and June will occur in another air sign, this time in Gemini. Mercury will also spend an unusually extended amount of time in the sign, first entering Gemini at 9:00 P.M. on Thursday, April 30 and not leaving Gemini until July 8th.

The difference will be that we will actually want Mercury to hang around in Gemini, even in spite of its temporary retrograde period from May 18 to June 11. Mercury has been in a bad way for much of 2015 and our synapses are fatigued and dulled from it. Mercury in Gemini will certainly bring them back up to speed. Mercury has essential dignity in Gemini, the sign it naturally rules. The Mercury retrograde period will occur entirely in the first decanate of Gemini (from 0 to 10 degrees of a sign), which is the Mercury ruled decanate and will continue to express Gemini’s truest nature. This will have the odd effect of exacerbating the inherent troubles associated with a Mercury retrograde and also making these troubles easier to navigate.

From my previous article on Mercury retrograde:

“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.”

The time from when Mercury enters Gemini April 30 until just before Mercury stations retrograde May 16 should be spent on proactively avoiding such pitfalls during the retrograde period. Get those emails sent, the papers signed, the deals made, the shopping finished, the car problems fixed, the spare keys made. The times when Mercury is direct will make these things a snap, but the retrograde period will be a hot mess. All forms of correspondence will take off like a jet, a flurry of calls and texts, emails and so forth. The retrograde will make everyone scatterbrained and unfocused but will not slow the quickened tempo. Not helping matters any will be the fact that Mercury will square Neptune in Pisces three times during its extended stay in Gemini. A Mercury-Neptune square is a communication trouble spot all its own. Preventing huge mistakes and misunderstandings during a  Neptune square to a retrograde Mercury requires extra vigilance and energy we won’t have.

Even though this Mercury retrograde will be as nerve wracking as any (possibly more so at certain times) Mercury is incredibly strong in Gemini, a natural conduit of information. It likes to connect dots, collect data, create new algorithms. If you remain attentive enough, you will begin to detect patterns emerging from previously overlooked info. You may not be able to use this knowledge until Mercury turns direct, however.

Nearly the entire time Mercury is in Gemini it will be trine the North Node in Libra/South Node in Aries. Mercury in Gemini can be incredibly chatty; the trine to the Moon’s Nodes emphasizes even stronger the sociable nature. This will be even further emphasized when Mercury aspects Venus.  If you feel like talking, don’t think about keeping it to yourself. Many others will be feeling equally loquacious and much of the information acquired during this transit will come directly through immediate social contacts. The Mercury retrograde will have the exact opposite effect on a certain amount of people, making them unusually quiet. If reticence occurs during this time you shouldn’t force yourself to converse when you’re not in the mood, but it is still a bad idea to spend too much time alone. Let others do the talking and see if you can silently glean something useful to you from their interactions. Some people will be called on specifically to act as a neutral, impassive third party.

Those that do feel more talkative than usual may find it hard to know when to shut up, what details to share and what to keep to themselves. There is an unfortunate tendency here for some to indulge in gossip, oversharing, exaggerating, and even telling little white lies. Lots of people can do this unintentionally, unaware of what they’re really saying at the time. This is a real downside to  Mercury in Gemini, really setting the mind and mouth in motion, but the retrograde combined with the square to Neptune in Pisces blurs factuality. Be careful of “venting” or processing your fleeting thoughts and feelings out loud. Others may not sense that you are thinking out loud and will instead take you at what they think is your word. There is going to be a lot of disappointment and confusion once the retrograde is over, as the stories people were told either shift into something else or fall through altogether.

What Mercury-Neptune lacks in clear linear thinking and communicating, it makes up for in creative, abstract artistic ability. Writers will be inspired during the times when Mercury is direct in Gemini and aspects Neptune, and will find more of a struggle during the retrograde period. Save everything you write as a draft to be reviewed when Mercury is direct. Mercury-Neptune creativity is sometimes more powerfully expressed though visual arts, so those with interests in that field will get more bang for their buck and may find the retrograde period enhances the creative flow more than it takes away from it. Anyone with creative careers or interests of any kind will see Mercury in Gemini squaring Neptune in Pisces as increasing their curiosity to explore and experiment with new ideas.

As with the last retrograde in an air sign, I’d be very cautious and skeptical of social media during the retrograde in Gemini. It will probably calm the inevitable mental chatter if a break from social media was taken. Besides, the emphasis will be on making more immediate connections.

Mercury in Gemini loves trivial pursuits, so in spite of the unavoidable shenanigans Mercury retrograde will be playing on us all, there is still fun to be had. Spectacular failure sometimes makes for great slapstick comedy, right? (This will be most noticeable when Mercury retrograde opposes the Full Moon in Sagittarius on Tuesday, June 2.) Some of the laughter may turn into arguments around the time Mercury Rx conjuncts Mars at 10 degrees Gemini. The shenanigans and hijinks will seem less funny if they’re directly affecting your life. Some sensitivity towards others frustrations will be needed around that time. Overall, though, you can avoid being laughed at as long as you’re laughing with people. Silly, drunken, giggly moments will be popping up at random (sometimes wrong!) moments, embrace the feeling and try to roll with the punches. The retrograde through Gemini will feel like it is neverending but it will be over before we know it, and we can enjoy the subtle strength of Mercury direct in Gemini once again.

Here’s when it all goes down (times given are Central Standard Time):

– Mercury enters Gemini Thursday, April 30 at 9:00 P.M.

– Mercury direct at 9 degrees Gemini makes an exact square to Neptune at 9 degrees Pisces on Saturday, May 9 at 11:08 P.M.

– Mercury turns retrograde at 9 degrees Gemini on Monday, May 18 at 8:49 P.M.

– Mercury Rx conjuncts Mars at 10 Gemini on Wednesday, May 27 at 5:37 P.M.

– Mercury Rx at 9 Gemini makes second exact square to Neptune at 9 Pisces on Friday May 29 at 2:00 A.M.

– Sun conjuncts Mercury Rx at 8 Gemini on Saturday May 30 at 11:56 A.M.

– Mercury Rx at 7 Gemini opposes the Full Moon at 11 Sagittarius on Tuesday, June 2 at 11:19 A.M.

– Mercury Rx at 4 degrees Gemini sextiles Venus at 4 Leo on Wednesday June 10 at 7:52 A.M.

– Mercury turns direct at 4 degrees Gemini on Thursday June 11 at 5:33 P.M.

– Mercury direct at 9 Gemini again squares Neptune at 9 Pisces on Tuesday, June 23 at 1:08 P.M.

– Mercury direct at 20 degrees Gemini sextiles Uranus at 20 Aries on Thursday July 2 at 1:50 P.M.

– Mercury direct at 21 Gemini sextiles Jupiter at 22 Leo at 7:53 A.M.;squares Chiron at 21 Pisces at 10:06 A.M., both on Friday July 3

– Mercury at 24 Gemini sextiles Venus at 24 Leo on Sunday, July 5 at 3:19 A.M.

– Mercury leaves Gemini and enters Cancer on Wednesday, July 8 at 1:52 P.M.

Real Time Astrology: Full Moon in Scorpio May 3, 2015

A darkly sexy, noir Full Moon at the 13th degree of Scorpio- near the end of the Via Combusta or “burning path”-  takes place Sunday, May 3 at 10:42 P.M. CST. (For some, it will take place in the wee hours of May 4, depending on your time zone.) This is the second Full Moon since the equinox of March 20, sometimes referred to as a Flower Moon or Milk Moon. A Scorpio Moon is a subtly intense energy that people tend to either love or loathe; I personally look forward to Scorpio Moon phases -and Scorpio Full and New Moons in particular- and know a contingent of readers of this site do as well. Regardless of how well this vibe meshes with you, lots of important processes will be at work and it would be wise to pay attention.

Scorpio Full Moons always have a “big” energy to them, even more so for this one. It will be squaring a Juno-Jupiter conjunction at 11 and 13 degrees Leo, respectively; trine to Neptune at 9 Pisces and Chiron at 20 Pisces; and sextile Scorpio’s natural ruler Pluto at 15 Capricorn. So yeah, this isn’t going unnoticed. A lot of focus will be on our own psychology: the healthy or unhealthy ways we emotionally process love and hurt, how well we can control our emotional responses to external stimuli and crises. A lot of changes- whether internal, external, or both- have occurred so far this year; the Full Moon in Scorpio seeks to examine if we are responding in ways that are helping or hurting us.

Skeletons in the closet and ghosts from the past -metaphoric or literal- will be coming out to play. Things you thought had been buried will resurface. Some will experience heightened anxiety, phobias, and paranoia; be very careful not to read something into a situation that isn’t there. Others will feel a heightening instead of their Scorpy spidey senses and can read people and situations for what they truly are without giving their own power away. Cutting through layers to get to the underlying source is a Scorpio specialty.

Regardless of how this affects people individually, ultimately the goal of this Full Moon in Scorpio is soul cleansing and healing, catharsis, and the giving or receiving of counseling through emotional intimacy. It is telling that this Full Moon squares Juno, an asteroid generally associated with soul mates. The purging process isn’t always one we can achieve on our own; Scorpio knows this and is the reason it so often seeks the energetic connection of others operating on the same level. People will be looking for soulful connections at the time of this Full Moon, even when they cannot articulate their motive for doing so: seeking out the frictional alchemy required for personal growth. Intimacy of some fashion is a must, even if it is out of familiar comfort zones.

Since Juno and Jupiter are conjunct in Leo, the dark, hard square from the Scorpio Full Moon suggests the soul purging process can be incredibly creative, even inspiring. Artists of all stripes will certainly feel inspiration; even those who lack artistic skill can find incredible release through the arts and music. There is something perversely funny about all of this, so no reason not to throw a party in spite of the heavy mood…

Nocturnal life will be bursting with this energy, so here again is a Moon that will create sleep disturbances, insomnia in particular. Those lucky enough to fall asleep will experience intense and strange cinematic dreams that linger for some time after.

The house of your natal chart that this Full Moon Scorpio falls in will, as always, receive the most focus. You may also receive clues as to how Saturn’s retrograde through Scorpio this summer will treat you. You may see or know more than you want during this Full Moon, but it is important not to look away. Trust that you are better off knowing than not knowing.

Return of Saturn in Scorpio June 14 – September 17, 2015

A cruel summer (or winter, for the southern hemisphere) is ahead of us as Saturn reenters the sign of Scorpio from Sunday, June 14 at 7:36 P.M. until Thursday, September 17 at 9:49 P.M. Saturn first entered Scorpio October 5, 2012 and stayed there until December 23, 2014, when it left Scorpio for Sagittarius. Most of us felt a weight lifted off us once Saturn entered Sagittarius; the transit of Saturn through Scorpio was brutal, seemed extraordinarily long, and left ruin in its wake. Saturn turned retrograde (when a planet appears to travel backwards and retraces its steps) on March 14 and is currently working its way back to the war zone of Scorpio.

 

This summer transit of Saturn returning to Scorpio is the last time Saturn will transit this sign for the next 29 years. As devastating as the first transit was, this last jaunt through Scorpio will provide many last chance opportunities to review and correct mistakes and unfinished business from the original transit; a clean sweep allowing for clean breaks, permanent endings and final resolve and resolutions. Bad as some of it may sound and feel, this is not something to be scared of and/or avoided; rather, it is energy to be faced head on, giving it all the vim and vigor it deserves. Yes, our faces will be shoved right back into the cesspool we thought we’d finally escaped, with a boot to our heads preventing us from looking away. But, anyone with higher perspective can see the wisdom and grace that comes from being given a second -though, final- chance to get this right, or continue being plagued with these issues for the next 29 or so years…

 

This final return of Saturn in Scorpio takes place entirely at the late degrees of Scorpio, with considerable time spent on the final, or anaretic, 29th degree. There is always a sense of intensity, urgency, power, and crisis that comes with the anaretic degree but this will be even more the case considering these are themes inherent to Scorpio’s functions. The 29th degree is also a highly karmic degree associated with permanent endings; again, things that come naturally to Scorpio.

 

The house of your natal chart that Saturn in Scorpio retrogrades and then turns direct in (direct August at 28 degrees Scorpio) and the aspects Saturn makes to your natal planets will tell how this will affect you more strongly on an individual level. But, the themes here will be the same for all of us. Scorpio is a sign that is primarily concerned with how energy works; it shines x-ray vision on the invisible energetic exchanges that runs like a current throughout nearly every aspect of life. Sex, death, money, family karma and legacies, perceived power and abuse of power, soul level trust and betrayal of trust… anything, really, that forms a bond or contract between us and others are the domain of Scorpio.

 

Saturn traveling first backwards and then forwards along the final degrees of Scorpio will exacerbate the signs natural tendency to investigate, dig up bones and expose skeletons in the closet, strip naked and lay bare the cold, hard truth. Whether we like it or not, whether we can even handle it or not. Saturn isn’t a warm, fuzzy planet in the best of times and it takes on a particularly cold countenance in Scorpio. Saturn’s job is to bring about the processes of maturity, responsibility, sober reality; these things Saturn forces on us, as we’d naturally avoid them if we could. This final pass of hardass Saturn through Scorpio provides another chance for us to apply the wisdom acquired over these past few years and untangle the sometimes messy, dirty intertwining of money, love, partnerships/ relationships, control, power structures, and soul worth.

 

Necessary tasks, not usually very pleasant ones.Support will once again dry up, resources available to us once again become restricted, limited and scarce. It would be wise to limit getting involved in joint expenditures until you have a very clear understanding of everything it entails, particularly if you are still working on paying off past debts or still involved in messy entanglements. People who sense something is breaking may not react in completely honest ways, even if (or: especially if) they are unaware of their behavior. People will try hard to shirk the heavy responsibilities being forced on them, and will try to pass the buck on to someone else, or bring others into the fold in an effort to share the load. If the responsibility isn’t yours, don’t take the bait. Gut level “sixth sense” feelings will be running high, so if something feels wrong, it IS wrong. Don’t wait for external evidence to appear or for logic to catch up. It may take every last drop of our energy to remain vigilant to avoiding detrimental power dynamics.

 

Guilt trips are particularly effective way of bending people to someone’s will, so remain sharply on the lookout for such ploys. One nice thing about Saturn returning to Scorpio this summer is that it temporarily breaks up the Saturn square to Neptune in Pisces, which should make it easier to detect the subtler meaning behind verbal exchanges, to detect what is really being implied, especially if what is being implied is much different than the official line. Avoid forming alliances that seem to be based out of guilt or projections of responsibility that aren’t really there.

 

Doing the right, responsible thing in financial matters will be particularly crucial. As the dust settles from the seventh and final square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, people will began to fully assess the damage and expectations for the future will have to reflect the sobering reality. We’re not going back the way we were, in most cases just being able to maintain the current standard  (whatever it may be individually) has become very challenging. A strong impetus to transform current financial situations will be very strong, but short term gains may not translate to long term profits or stability if the plans aren’t fully honest, equal, sustainable and healthy. Saturn is a planet of restrictions and limitations, and restricting and limiting any further debts, loans, credit purchases, borrowing/ spending, and financial entanglements in general is highly advisable. Globally, some nasty business in the financial realm will be percolating behind the scenes. It is likely the plans will not reach full realization, falling apart under the weight of people drunk on their own ego and power yet a lot of destruction and ruin can happen before then.  Removing yourself now from the equation (as much as possible) is a great idea.

 

Ideally, everyone would be better off from this wear and tear and come out the other side better for it. Realistically, you might not be better off physically or materially, in some cases we might be worse off than before. Makes no difference. If we have to sacrifice perceived safety and comfort to break out of detrimental karmic ruts, then that is what we have to do. Saturn in Scorpio draws a hard line here. Sometimes in life our only reward for doing the right thing is being able to look at ourselves in the mirror and answer to higher spiritual authority with a clean conscious. Our actions (or lack of actions) carry weight and have long term, sometimes lifelong, consequences. It is better to own up to this fact now, than continue to struggle with it.

 

Pathology of all kinds will reemerge from psychic depths as well. None of us are entirely of our own making. In certain ways we reflect the values and carry on the pains of the people who came before us, whether they are still living or have passed on. Upon close enough examination it will be possible to discern which of our toxic life patterns are actually familial or ancestral patterns. Severing ties with these patterns is entirely possible with Saturn in Scorpio.

 

Now, none of this is to say that this summer of 2015 will be without its usual sparkle. Some people can of course handle this energy better than others. (Personally, I’m looking forward to getting it done and over with once and for all and moving on!!) And astrologically there will be more than enough lighter moments to help buffer some of this. Being aware of what is coming and what is happening as it happens is always a good thing. We did two years of Saturn in Scorpio before, we can handle three more months!

 

Notable times and dates for when this energy will kick into high gear (all times given are Central Standard Time):

– June 14: Saturn retrograde enters Scorpio at 7:36 P.M. on the 29th anaretic degree, opposing the Moon in Gemini

– July 14: Venus at 26 degrees Leo squares Saturn Rx at 26 Scorpio

– August 2: Saturn turns direct at 0:53 A.M. at 28 degrees Scorpio

– August 3: Jupiter at 28 Leo squares Saturn, still at 28 Scorpio, 5:37 A.M.

– August 5: Venus retrograde at 28 Leo squares Saturn, 10:08 A.M.

– August 6: Mars at 27 Cancer trines Saturn at 3:29 A.M.; Mercury at 26 Leo squares Saturn 3:19 P.M.

– August 14: New Moon at 21 degrees Leo squares Saturn, still at 28 Scorpio, 9:53 A.M.

– August 29: Full Moon at 6 degrees Pisces squares Saturn 1:35 P.M.

– September 17: Saturn leaves Scorpio and reenters Sagittarius

 

Real Time Astrology: April 14 – 30, 2015 / New Moon in Aries April 18

Just as in March, the last half of April will end with a much different feel than the first half. The mood and tempo considerably slows and deepens, with just enough magic sprinkled in to keep it from getting too heavy.

At 5:51 P.M. CST Tuesday, April 14, Mercury left speedy Aries and entered steadied Taurus. Mercury entered a sign ruled by Venus; Venus entered Mercury ruled Gemini Saturday April 11. This mutual reception will last until Thursday, April 30, when Mercury enters Gemini. Until then, this mutual reception creates a beautiful flow between our hearts and minds, our words and actions, our social interactions in our daily lives. This is a great time to make new acquaintances and contacts in your local scene. They may not be life changing acquaintances, but friends made now will go the distance. Mercury in Taurus can make thought processes a little slow and sluggish; Venus in Gemini can be a little too fickle in money and heart matters. This mutual reception, however, brings out the best of both placements and should help smooth out the pitfalls. Both practicality and lighthearted humor are emphasized. Tact and good manners, too! With Mars also in Taurus for the remainder of April, renegotiations concerning money, finances, value, and earning power will continue to be a focus. The mutual reception of Mercury in Taurus and Venus in Gemini can provide the extra diplomacy, negotiation skills, and a little sweetness that is needed to confidently assert our decisions without stepping on toes.

Remember that what Taurus lacks in speed it more than makes up for in stamina,  many of our efforts now will require time and patience to come to fruition. Just keep on keeping on.

Venus and Mercury will also be sprinkling us with some glamour and magic this last half of April. Some notable good times are the weekend of the 18 & 19, with the New Moon in Aries, Mercury in Taurus sextile Neptune in Pisces, and Venus in Gemini square Neptune and trine the Moon’s Nodes along the Aries/Libra axis. Venus square to Neptune is pretty terrible with money, even in spite of the Taurus influence; otherwise this looks like a fun weekend. Venus will sextile Jupiter freshly direct in Leo on Wednesday, April 22 and sextile Uranus in Aries – still hot but cooling off from the final epic square to Pluto – on Sunday, April 26. This may indicate minor lucky financial changes for some; for most this is a particularly nice time to socialize and make beneficial contacts.

The New Moon at 28 degrees Aries takes place at 1:57 P.M. CST on Saturday, April 18. Aries New/Full Moons always make an impact; however, compared to the wild eclipses and Supermoons we’ve experienced so far in 2015, I don’t expect this Aries New Moon to be particularly problematic. Emotions may seem stronger and take on a life of their own, but this need not be a bad thing. It will result from the inevitable wearing of hearts on sleeves. Our feelings and passions are stronger and require urgent expression. Our self awareness will be emphasized during this Aries New Moon, and we will not stand for the things important to us being pushed aside. A fighting spirit will be aroused here as well, though it could just as easily be a triumphant spirit as a testy one.

The house of your natal chart this New Moon falls in is where you will experience typical Aries themes: control, leadership, self interest,  independence, individuality, motivation, and fresh starts.

It is probable that the motivating factor behind the urge to start anew at the New Moon in Aries will be linked to the themes dredged up by Pluto turning retrograde at 15 degrees Capricorn. Pluto is currently stationing retrograde, which officially occurs on Thursday, April 16 at 10:54 P.M. CST. Pluto retrograde serves to clean out our psychic closets, bringing up to the surface those nasty ghosts we prefer not to see. Seeing as Pluto just finished its seventh and final square to Uranus in Aries in March, a series that started in June 2011, it has a few years worth of pathology and power struggles to retrace. The Pluto stationing retrograde may be a source of anxiety, depression, paranoia and other uncomfortable feelings. That which is most necessary is rarely pleasant.

The Sun enters Taurus Monday, April 22 at 4:42 A.M. CST and along with Mercury and Mars in Taurus will continue the push towards valuing our new values that we’ve acquired in the wake of transformative astrological shake ups. Part of valuing our values comes from recognizing how our values may have been abused, used against us, denigrated or otherwise not given their proper dues. Pluto retrograde in Capricorn will be doing some heavy work drawing out from the past bullshit power plays, abuses of authority, and other such traumas that resulted in our personal, professional and spiritual value systems being trampled on.

A Mercury-Mars conjunction in Taurus  will form shortly after the Aries New Moon – reaching exact conjunction Wednesday April 22- and will sextile Pluto freshly retrograde at 15 degrees Capricorn, which will help to put our Plutonic realizations into confident and sound decisions going forward. Considerable stamina and force will be available for the taking. The New Moon in Aries and the mutual reception of Mercury in Taurus and Venus in Gemini can help to navigate the choppier waters of late April. Laughter is, of course, the best medicine; don’t turn down any chance for a good time as it may have deeper implications than you’d imagine.