Part of astrology's power and perhaps the reason it seems to survive the tides of cultural change is its ability to contextualize life events. Astrology delineates cycles and that can be a comfort, especially if we are in a bad patch and desperately in need of reassurance that patch will not last forever. But more importantly, astrology speaks to the soul—it tells the personal story as part of a much larger universal story, and that expanded vision has the power to both soothe and inspire. Telling an individual story through a larger archetypal or mythological framework offers the possibility of connection, direction, and purpose.
I could cobble together a clever line or two about the difficulty of living in interesting times, or I could just quote Herman’s Hermits and suggest singing endless rounds of I’m Henry the Eighth I am, Henry the Eighth I am, I am because the second verse is the same as the first. Especially this week as daily life unfolds in pattern similar to last week and the week before that. But there is one important exception: Mercury goes direct early Sunday morning, May 22, and as its “forward” motion gathers momentum, regular routines resume with renewed vigor. Just be aware, Mercury Direct does not translate into an immediate x-marks-the-spot clarity.
The week is a hodgepodge of mighty efforts, strong intentions and dashed plans, so don’t be surprised if your coping skills are stretched to capacity. All week long, agendas, schedules, deadlines and every other iteration of plans encounter what those positive thinking New Agers deem “challenges”— which is nothing more than a polite euphemism for snafu. But despite the push-pull/stop-start rhythm of the week, there are plenty of opportunities to stay grounded in practical as well as pragmatic endeavors. Do your best to focus on what matters most to you and allow that determination to keep you from getting lost in a multitude of distractions. Be aware, some of those detours are certain to be more fun than hard work, and while I often write as if getting things done is one of the most important values, all work and no play isn’t good for anyone. Not only will it make you dull, but “no play” also means that brain and body never have a chance to process and release the stresses of daily life. So this week, concentrate your energy and efforts, but also take a moment to indulge in at least one fun distraction. Never underestimate the power of joy.
It’s a complex week, with no specific guidelines nor hard and fast rules to manage the ins and outs of daily life. Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto are all retrograde, and the regular routines that normally dictate the ebb and flow of activities all seem to be a little leaky with detours, delays, distractions, and an overabundance of obstacles that make staying on track a challenge. The tried and true advice about this retrograde aggregation, especially when it comes to Mercury and Mars, is to steer clear of new endeavors and to concentrate instead on refining what’s already in motion. Clear, although standard guidance.
Mercury begins its second retrograde phase of the year early tomorrow morning, and as it “turns around” and joins a several other retrograde planets, it turns the next several weeks into a frustrating but nonetheless powerful review. Be prepared to spend more than a moment reviewing, reflecting and reconsidering plans and projects already in motion. Just be aware, this retrograde phase includes revisiting recent strategies as well as decisions made during 2015. This Mercury Retrograde joins Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, all retrograde, and the combined effect of this aggregation, particularly the Mars Retrograde, is sure to inhibit and interfere with the routines of daily life. Nothing is moving quickly—and even if you think it is, it isn’t moving as fast as it could. So keep those patience pills handy—you’re going to need them to handle the slog.
This week, four planets—Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto—are retrograde, soon to be joined by Mercury on April 28, forming a powerful aggregation of astral energy I like to call the Retro-Zone. Last week, foreshocks, aftershocks, quakes, and tremors escorted us into the Retro-Zone, presaging much of what to expect for the next several weeks and months as we adjust to the new pace of daily life. I am not predicting the world will continue to physically wobble during this period. I am forecasting that internal quakes—mental, emotional and spiritual, major as well as minor—are certain to disrupt regular routines. Lots of folks could find themselves in a reactive state, unable to break free from standard emergency measures.
It’s here—the 2016 retrograde zone, when Mars, Mercury and Pluto join Saturn and Jupiter in a massive retrospective that persists in varying formations over the course of the next nearly three months, a retrospective that’s certain to interfere with even the best laid plans of gods and mortals. Delays and detours as well as snags and snafus dot the landscape of daily life, wreaking havoc on regular routines and creating chaos in schedules of every kind. It’s going to take a Herculean effort to muster the patience to make it through the constant repetition required to weather such a storm. It’s not that you aren’t being clear; it’s that others’ ears are clogged with cotton balls, or each of us seems to be attuned to disharmonic frequencies that make talking to each other—even normal conversations—akin to speaking in tongues.
It’s an anything goes week, so don’t be surprised if your week is colored by surprising plot twists catalyzed by out-of-the-blue bolts of lightning. Uranus, the astro-symbol for the unexpected and unanticipated, is lighting up regular routines with impulsive decisions designed to break free from the drudgery of mundane habits of every denomination. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing endless choruses of “I gotta be free ‘cause I gotta be me.” Also don’t be dismayed if a significant other, personal or professional, makes a declaration of independence that cannot be denied or ignored. What’s more, the reason these rebellions must be taken seriously is their link to more than a whim. Pay attention to all these attempts to cut the negative ties that bind—yours or others’. It’s a wild world we live in, and personal liberation, as well as social liberation, are a major part of the new terrain.
This week, it’s important to make good use of time—yours and others’, personal or private. Mars is preparing for a nearly three month retrograde that begins on April 17 and ends on June 29 (although if you count the ten to fourteen days before and after the official dates, this retrograde phase is closer to four months). As Mars gets ready to downshift into ‘reverse’, the regular routines of daily life are plagued with time distortions, and as these disruptions grow increasingly frequent over the next couple of weeks, schedules literally fall through the cracks.
We’re crossing the border into retrograde territory this week, as Saturn, already slowed to a “course correction” crawl, goes retrograde on March 25 and stays retrograde until August 13. This nearly four and a half months of a Saturnian review promises to put some things—but not everything—in perspective. Saturn is the first of several retrogrades. On April 17 both Mars and Pluto begin retrograde phases, and on April 28, Mercury begins its second retrograde of the year. So take a deep breath and exhale slowly. For the next two months and more, we are reviewing, reflecting, reconsidering, reconnoitering, and reassessing plans, projects, programs, and partnerships already in motion. Make patience your constant companion—you’ll need plenty to navigate the delays and detours that lie ahead.
Hurry up and slow down is the mantra for this week and the next couple of weeks, as the pace as well as the structure of regular routines grows increasingly elastic. Several planets are slouching toward a retrograde, and as they move closer to their “turnaround,” a sense of urgency underscores normal activities. Even those who don’t know about retrogrades are feeling a push to get “it” all done. And as that unidentified yet manic urgency collides with an even wackier-than-ever world, daily life becomes, as the Temptations once sang, a ball of confusion. That’s what the world is today. Run, run, run but you sure can't hide...an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...vote for me and I'll set you free.
It’s just another wonky week here on Earth, with lots of things continuing to turn inside out and upside down, while lots of folks continuing to try to make sense of a world that seems to spun itself into a parallel universe, where very little is as it once was. In the United States, we’re trying to understand how the Republicans lost control of their grand old party and handed over their belligerent base to their self-created Trumpenstein. And their dismay is so bad, it’s almost possible to feel sorry for them as they flounder in the chaos of Trump’s triumph. What are moderate Republicans to do? (Yes...I know moderate Republicans could be an oxymoron...but there are still some.) Are they to vote Democrat? Not vote at all? Or run a third party candidate? It’s hard to find answers if you’re a non-Trump, non-Evangelical Republican. Perhaps a savior with savoir faire will rise out of the mist and offer redemption—but as of Monday, it won’t be Bloomberg.
It’s another week of twists, turns, ups, downs, and pole tilts, personal as well as planetary. And while it may seem that I’m exaggerating, it’s important to remember that we are still in the wake of seven powerful astral storms, symbolized by the seven Uranus/Pluto squares, all of which challenged and continue to challenge existing political, economic and social paradigms. As was said by Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.”
Patience is the key to navigating this week’s unsettled astral waters. One moment the sea is flat, the next it’s alive, and before you can blink, huge waves are crashing on the shores of daily life. Don’t worry—the days and nights aren’t only about upset and upheaval (although given the state of the planet these days, that’s always a possibility). Regular routines persist, but huge currents—emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual—continue to turn the wheel of life in directions that no one can anticipate. We are in the midst of Earth-changing social, economic and political transitions, and as we witness these massive changes, many of us are also experiencing profound personal pole shifts. It’s no longer the soap opera As the World Turns.” It’s now As My World Tilts. And getting used to a new perspective takes time, especially when certain situations keep on spinning. Don’t be fooled by those making all the fuss and sucking the air out of the room.
Set your internal compass on “true you” and get ready for another week of transition, another week of astral winds powerful enough to blow even the most steadfast off track. But don’t worry—only the blowhards will blow too hard. What’s more, these are not pernicious winds, although some might attempt to harness their power for ruthless purposes. These winds are simply strong, and handling their strength skillfully takes clear vision coupled with strong determination to move toward specific goals. Fortunately, stamina and endurance are part of the planetary mosaic which makes staying on track a bit easier.