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.
The pace of regular routines accelerates this week—the planets are forming potent combinations that not only support ambitious endeavors but also provide the potential for powerful insights that add depth perception to what might otherwise be seen as mundane events. This astral acceleration is likely to be a bit bumpy, and emotional bodies (yours or others’) might be upset by the surprising developments and unexpected outcomes that are part of the planetary package. But there’s no need to anticipate that those unanticipated twists and turns will be negative—they are simply unforeseen, a condition of these transformational times that’s becoming increasingly commonplace. As always, the best way through uncertainty is to stay confident in your ability to stay centered within. Then, do you best to integrate your principles into action.
This week, it’s a “start your engines but don’t go too fast” frequency that seems to be a mixed message because it is. Mercury Direct began on Monday, January 25, and that “forward” motion freed-up a whole lot of plans and projects that have been on hold since the beginning of the New Year. But pushing ahead recklessly is never a good idea, if only because it may take a moment to gather the necessary components and participants to make positive progress. The best way through the next several days is to find and maintain your balance and, when possible, to avoid extremes.
Since the start of the New Year—and really since the start of Mercury Retrograde on January 6—the rhythms and routines of daily life have been a little more than slightly wacky, and this week, the madness continues to take its toll, even though the retrograde is almost over. Mercury goes direct on January 25, at 1:49 PST. Unfortunately, these final five days are likely to be the worst. Mercury is currently in a square to Uranus, and because Uranus signifies computers—and every other form of technology used to keep the digital universe spinning in cyberspace—meltdowns, mechanical or human, are probable. Keep breathing—it’s the only way through—and continue to keep it real by acknowledging just how hard it is for most to get through these retrograde snafus, and especially how difficult it is for those who don’t know they have Mercury Retrograde to blame.
It’s an interesting week of tricky Mercury Retrograde twist and turns, but it’s also a week that provides plenty of potential for positive creative collaboration. Patience pills to ward off retrograde frustration are still necessary—no matter how expansive the potential for teamwork might be, the retrograde still snarls actual traffic on the way to work, as it simultaneously triggers gridlock on the information highway. The good news is that many fellow travelers are in a good mood and leaning toward a generosity of spirit despite retrograde snafus. And that goes a long way toward making it easier to handle the week.
A restless wind blows through the first weeks of 2016 and settling down or settling into new routines, with or without resolutions, requires potent determination—and I’m not just talking about diets and exercise. This restlessness occurs on several levels simultaneously, making it hard for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies to relax or simply hold steady. Yes, Mercury is retrograde (more below about what that means), a position that always infuses daily life with hefty doses of frustration. But more importantly, making sense of our brave new world of 2016 is no small feat, and for many of us, completely overwhelming. Almost all aspects of life, all around the world, seem to be pinned to extremes, which makes holding an objective perspective nearly impossible. The middle ground is the best and safest place to be, so make “moderation” your mantra and aim your sights at balance.
Take a deep breath, sit back, relax, and get ready to be uncomfortable—2016 is another long year of change that challenges body, mind, heart, and soul. It’s a year of many retrogrades, and hence, it’s a year of review and reflection on what’s already in motion, rather than a year of moving forward with plans and projects. For those new to retrograde cycles, they indicate periods when daily life can slow to a crawl. Hardly anything moves quickly during a retrograde, but that snail’s pace is all about assuming a deliberate way of moving in the world, a way that can deepen an awareness of thought, word, and deed—and their consequences. But even as 2016 offers plenty of opportunities for fretting and frustration, it also offers time to digest, metabolize, and integrate responses to a changing world.
The next several days unfold with conflicting time signatures and sometimes the contrast is so stark, even the steadiest schedules are disrupted. Don’t be dismayed if you’re discombobulated and feel a little like the Mad Hatter. At certain points during the day, time may seem to stand still—for example, when you’re in a hurry and waiting for a train that never seems to arrive. At other intervals during the day, the seconds, minutes and hours fly by so quickly, you’re likely to panic because it feels as if there won’t be enough time to get everything done. It’s not quite a start-stop-start or a hurry-up-and-wait rhythm. But it is “retrogrady”. And it is not Mercury Retrograde playing mind games and screwing around with the time distortions. It’s Uranus, which goes direct on Christmas Day, and until it moves “forward”, daily life plays out at a peculiar pace.
We’re in the final stretch of a too-long year and these last two weeks of 2015 unfold with a pace so erratic that even the most experienced marathoner is likely to be gasping for breath midway through the race. Those uninitiated in long-distance running will need to find a comfortable stride that permits a modicum of consistency when managing the regular routines of daily life—multitasking at warp-speed won’t be possible, if only because the energy expenditure requires too much effort. It’s hard defying gravity when dimensions are bumping into each other.
Some weeks, I do want to stick my head in the sand and make like an ostrich because it seems that the news just gets worse—at least the global broadcast news—and mustering the soul strength to deal with the potential for yet another wave of extreme violence just isn’t easy. That’s the curse of augury: How to frame the difficult news without adding to the problem. Of course, I could always lie, something a reader suggested in a text message last week: “I really, really wish that you would lie in your columns.” Alas, lying about the planets isn’t possible for me. Putting a positive spin on astral interactions is, but sometimes finding a wholesome balance interpreting planetary patterns is as difficult as finding a wholesome balance in just living life.
Emotional tides run high this week, making it hard to keep an even keel, and even if you manage to find a safe harbor, by the weekend frustration with bad behavior (yours or others’) is sure to reach a crescendo, making meltdowns (again yours or others’) probable. What elevates this week’s intensity to such high levels is a relationship to the last three Uranus/Pluto squares that occurred on April 21, 2014, December 15, 2014, and March 17, 2015. (There were seven Uranus/Pluto squares that took place between June 2012 and March 2015.) We’re still grappling with the same themes highlighted by those pernicious interactions, and now, as current astrological patterns trigger previous sensitive points, those unresolved issues take on new life.
We’re in the final six weeks of an extraordinary year, a year that stretched boundaries so far that the minds of even the most imaginative visionaries had to struggle to keep a hold on reality. And while it is great to be surprised, the bombardment of violence, coupled with the constant barrage of startling plot twists, has left many fatigued, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Yes...there are plenty of people benefitting from reversals of fortune, but even the fortunate need time to integrate all that has changed.
Last week, before the attacks in Paris, I was speaking with a friend about what the Uranus/Pluto squares had put in motion in my personal life, as well as how the series of seven squares has affected how we live as a collective. (For those new to this column: From Spring 2012 until Spring 2015 there were seven exact Uranus/Pluto squares. A delineation of each can be found in the Archives on this site.) I quoted Dickens to my friend, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
It’s a week of contrasts: The sky is relatively quiet, but daily life continues to be busy. Feelings run deep but emotional resolution stays just out of reach. New endeavors encourage excitement, but old efforts require additional attention. And even though these comparisons suggest polarized positions, nothing in the astrological picture suggests mean-spirited conflict. (For those who thrive on a fight, opportunities for battle are coming around again in a few weeks. But just for the record, there’s already enough conflict in the world to last an eternity.) Use the relative calm of the week as another chance to take stock and sort through any number of issues still in need of clarity.
We’re entering the season of reflection, when the days grow shorter and darker, attention turns inward instead of outward, and preparations for hibernation begin (at least here in the northern hemisphere). 2015 was a year of massive shifts, personal as well as collective, physical as well as psychic, social as well as spiritual, and because of that constant barrage of change, looking back is likely to be a deeply emotional, almost Herculean, labor.