Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chiron & Wholeness: A Primer by Joyce Mason

Announcing a new, lushly illustrated, 40-page e-book that brings you the basics and key insights about Chiron in a tightly woven package.

Here’s the what’s inside:

Chiron for Better or for Worse - If you resonate to Chiron or your astrology chart is “Chiron prominent,” what can you expect?

Chiron in the Signs and Houses – A starting point for exploring your personal Chiron placement.

Chiron Cycles and Life Purpose – How transiting Chiron’s cycles to your natal Chiron tell you about your personal quest for fulfillment.

Modern Find, Cosmic Question Mark – A brief history of Chiron’s modern-day find in 1977, how its uniqueness—and many unanswered questions about it—still captivate astrologers.

Symbol, Cosmic Characteristics, and Cultural Connections – Chiron’s symbol or glyph is a skeleton key, the kind that opens all doors. Its astronomical characteristics suggest a whole-making function, and cultural changes around its discovery marked dramatic shifts in relations between men and women—and many other themes of balancing complementary energies.

Myth of Chiron – What does the ancient Greek story of this mentor of heroes and multi-talented healer—the one who can heal everyone but himself--tell us about ourselves?

Chironic Characters Show Us How to Become Real Heroes – Famous people who embody Chiron and what they tell us about holism and heroism.

Wholeness, Inner Marriage, and the Chiron Sector – Why Chiron is associated with the Virgo to Sagittarius sector of the zodiac.

Suggestions for Further Reading & Further Resources

A specialist on Chiron for 20 years, Joyce is the former editor of the international newsletter, Chironicles (1992-95), and the creator of the Chironic Convergence in 1996, a journey of discovery to the Mt. Pelion region in Greece, Chiron’s mythical homeland. Back to astrology after a long hiatus, Joyce blogs here on The Radical Virgo, a repository for her many articles, both old and new.

Will there be a longer book? It’s only a matter of when. Meanwhile, this is both a primer (as in an introductory, first-level reader) and a primer (with a long i, as in the first coat of paint or something to get you primed!).

Delivered in PDF format via e-mail. Pre-purchase discount applies through September 29 ($3.50) at midnight PST, then $4.95 US introductory rate through December 31, 2009. This lower, initial price is being offered to Radical Virgo readers before more massive marketing requires a price increase in 2010.

To purchase, see the sidebar on The Radical Virgo or order on joycemason.com.  Here is some sample reader feedback.

For more information, e-mail Joyce. joyce@joycemason.com.


Photo credit: CIRCULAR DANCER © Elenaray | Dreamstime.com

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fully Seasoned: Astrology and Ritual

© 2009 by Joyce Mason. All Rights Reserved

Happy Autumn Equinox! What’s not to like about this time of year? The Sun moves into Libra, the sign of love, relationships, and beauty—in gorgeous, breathtaking color. This is the time of crisp air and abundance in the Northern Hemisphere. In the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving and our gratitude for Earth’s plenty. It’s a time I relish.

As I’ve shared in other posts on both my blogs, I’ve been celebrating the solstices and equinoxes for over 20 years with a groovy group of women known as the Solsisters. I cannot begin to tell you how much these rituals have enriched my life. Celebrating these seasonal changes brings astrology, spirituality, and the cycles of life down to earth for me where I can hug them in community.

I have a special resonance to the Autumn Equinox, because I was born on the cusp of fall, less than 24 hours before the Sun moved into Libra. My first Autumn Equinox was part of my first day on Earth. What a way to get off to a good start in an incarnation!

Harvest time is the reward of a life well lived, the goodies we get out of all the work we do. Astrology may help us to understand ourselves, others, and even world events. Ritual does even more. It brings the dancing sky down to earth where we can dance with it. In that dance, we can feel, discover and show our gratitude for the magnificence of creation by offering our awe at these times of shift. If you don’t believe me, try it! That’s the point of this post--to tempt you to create ceremony under the stars in thanks for the cosmic symphony.

Getting Started

All it takes is a few people who are interested in exploring the idea. The Solsisters were born out of the annual candlelighting ceremony at our largest, local Unity church. Inspired by the Season of Light, several of my friends wanted more. I was the astrologer, so soon we decided to create a Winter Solstice ceremony in addition to attending the candlelighting service. I had never done anything like it before. This was in the late 1980s, so I was still high from the Harmonic Convergence. I had the spirit of peace on earth all year ‘round and a Catholic background. My religious roots ingrained me with ritual, ceremony, and liturgy from my head down to my toes. This kind of worship permeated my soul.

We ad libbed a lot, and I’m sure we had our share of divine direction, the ritual equivalent of automatic writing. Our celebrations were so satisfying, after the first couple of years, we began meeting quarterly at all the solstices and equinoxes. There is no right or wrong in rituals that celebrate the cosmic clock. You could just as easily celebrate any major event in the sky or the ingresses of the Sun into the various signs. Do as much or as little as you like. Do what feels good and raises your spirits. I often give a quarterly astrological overview as part of the process. For us the solstices and equinoxes offer just the right number of get-togethers and spacing to see progress in our lives. To spin off a quote by ‘70s pop poet Rod McKuen, “Love is a season and holidays (or solstices and equinoxes) like signposts mark the time.”

Evolution of Structure

Even the most Uranian of us all needs a little Saturn and structure for life to tick like the cosmic clock itself. Over time, a natural framework evolved in our ceremonies—the bones that hold them together with differing things that feel right in the moment to flesh them out. We borrow from every tradition you can think of: Catholic, Jewish, earth religions, Native American, Buddhist, and a multiplex of cultures. After nearly two decades, my friend and I who act as primary leaders wanted to encourage more women to try their hand at creating these soul parties. We came up with this outline by simply writing down what had already emerged naturally:

Basic Elements of Our Solstice and Equinox Ceremonies

1. Smudging – Purification of each person participating in the ceremony by sage or incense smoke. Alternatively, especially when we’re out of doors in high fire hazard areas, we use sound—bells, chimes, or rattles. The concept is to clear the energy field and help each participant let go of worry and concerns and come into the celebration with a clean slate. One person starts and each person then smudges the next person after being smudged until smudging is complete around the circle.

2. Casting the Circle – Calling in the Directions to create a sacred and safe space for ceremony. The circle is a space defined by the raising of energy. It replicates the zodiac and division of the year into four equal parts by the equinoxes (spring and fall) and solstices (winter and summer).

3. Opening Prayer

4. Opening Remarks on the Meaning of the Season – If there is a theme, this is the time to share it. For example, last Winter Solstice, our theme was The Magical Child Within.

5. Optional additional prayers, special blessings, or discussion of seasonal holidays and/or astrological overview.

6. Activity reflecting seasonal theme, e.g. preparing seeds of our growth in Spring, going into the “river of life” or play in Summer, harvesting seeds in Autumn, candlelighting affirming our inner light in Winter

7. Meditation – usually on the theme

8. Praying for Ourselves and Others - After a general prayer for all present and absent members present in spirit, anyone in the circle can put forth a prayer request for others.

9. Optional Oracle – We love drawing tarot cards or other oracles and use various decks to reflect the theme of the particular ritual. With last year’s inner child theme at Winter Solstice, we used Isha Lerner and Mark Lerner’s Inner Child Cards (A Fairy-Tale Tarot).

10. Communion – Sharing recent growth or our experience in any other part of the ceremony, such as what tarot card we drew. The card or inspiration we received in meditation often reflects what's been happening in our lives. These parts of the ceremony help focus our sharing updates.

11. Optional parting poem, prayer, or remarks

12. Releasing the Four Directions, Opening the Circle

Tips for First Timers

Here are the tips we share with Solsisters who are creating the ceremony for the first time:

Order. While the beginning and ending rituals such as casting and closing the circle need to be in those positions, the rest of the steps can be reorganized, if they feel more comfortable in a different order.

Extras. Don’t hesitate to add an extra step or swap one out if it feels right to the flow of the ceremony you are creating. This is a basic structure so we have the comfort of repetition that helps us reach the relaxed altered state of consciousness for getting the most out of a ritual. Within those minimal boundaries, the more creativity and variety, the better. Music always enhances. We do many of our celebrations at the river with the natural sounds of water rushing and birds singing.

Resources. The Solsisters celebrate our oneness with all creation, the reason we often use material from many faiths, paths, and sources of inspiration. When it comes to material, you’d be amazed at what you can find at the Pubic Library, often your library’s online resources. The Internet is one of the richest sources of material for ritual available to humankind. Plug words like ritual and a season name such as spring into Google and see what you get. The more words you try, the more you’ll find. As you do ceremonies over a period of years, your previous ceremonies become part of your resources. Most people barely remember what we did last year. Go back two years, tweak it a little, and you’ve got a brand new ceremony with minimal effort. I keep copies of everything in files that are easy to sort and access: ceremony outlines, different options for calling the directions, prayers, poems, and meditations. You can create a file of your most helpful links online.

Co-creation. The most important ingredient in designing a ceremony is letting Spirit flow through you and with you in its creation. Allow yourself to be “led” from one idea or resource to another. You’ll be amazed at how the ceremony creates itself once you merge into the mental and spiritual place where all things are joined.

It Only Gets Better

Even though I was born on autumn’s doorstep, my big ritual every year goes back to where it all started for the Solsisters—Winter Solstice. I lead this one solo and hold it at my home, including a potluck following the ceremony. I go a bit crazy with creativity on this one because I love the winter holidays and I resonate to the season of love, light, and giving. Our winter solstice always includes a candlelighting ceremony and many surprises. Most of the Solsisters met in our environmental work for the State of California. If you love the earth, you have to love the sky above it.

Honoring the earth/sky interface—and interplay—is part of a philosophy where everything is holy, infused with the gifts of the Creator. I know of no other time when I feel more alive—or luckier to be.


Photo Credit: Lovely Autumn © Шпорт Олександр |Fotolia

For more solstice and equinox inspiration, check out these posts: Autumn EquiKnocks  and Happy Autumn Equinox; Spring: New Beginnings, New Blog; and Summer Solstice – “Let the Sunshine In.”

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chiron: Your “Higher Moon”

© 1995-2009 by Joyce Mason, All Rights Reserved

Before Chiron was discovered, humanistic astrologer Dane Rudhyar predicted that there would be a new planetary body found between Saturn and Uranus that would act like a “higher Moon.”

It was exactly in that location where the “centaur” Chiron was found on November 1, 1977. [1] For 15 years, no one knew just what Chiron was—a small planet (planetoid?) A comet? For a while, astrologers called it a cometoid for its composite nature, since it exhibited characteristics of both. Only recently did astronomers uncover that Chiron’s discovery heralded a whole new class of similar objects, found beyond Neptune, born from the far-off Kuiper Disk. The planetary system is now known to be surrounded by a vast disk of planetesimals. The disk is believed to begin a bit beyond the orbit of Neptune and to extend outward toward the much more distant, spherical Oort Cloud, from which all comets were once believed to come. Over time, astronomers realized that the short-period comets, like Chiron, could not evolve to their present orbits from the Oort Cloud, but rather, must come from a more flattened and much closer reservoir. More than 20 Chiron-like objects have now been found, at least one far beyond Pluto. Astronomers believe there are at least 10,000 such bodies, and that the Kuiper Disk contains billions of comet nuclei and perhaps a few larger objects up to the sizes of Pluto’s Moon or Pluto itself. [2] (For a more recent theory, read Chiron and Pluto: The Comet Brothers.)

Chiron was named two years after its discovery in honor of the wise centaur in Greek mythology, half-man and half-horse. The International Astronomical Union has adopted the name “centaur” for these compound small objects, in Chiron’s honor. [3] Many other centaurs have been discovered since Chiron’s entry into our awareness in 1977.

What does this astronomy lesson have to do with a higher Moon? More than you can imagine. First, Chiron was discovered at 3 Taurus, the traditional degree of the Moon’s exaltation. It was the only planet under the horizon, in the 4th (the Moon’s) house, and the Moon was in its own sign, Cancer. These were the first hints of Chiron’s lunar nature.

Chiron’s discovery in our time allows us to experience what it must have been like to be an ancient astrologer, trying to ascribe meanings to the planets. Planets don’t come with built-in astrological descriptions like the laundering directions on our t-shirts. Astrologers derive meanings primarily from three sources: the astronomy of the planet, the mythological character for which it is named, and cultural events approximately 15 years before and after discovery. The mythical link is the most fascinating, for it is the most lunar way we explore outer space from an astrological perspective. The names chosen for planets are somehow magically correct, despite the fact that it is the privilege of the discoverers to name them, often hard-core scientists who don’t believe astrology is the least bit valid. Myths "live" in the collective unconscious, so it makes sense that the astronomer would “channel” them unconsciously.

Mythical Chiron was a teacher and mentor of many famous heroes such as Jason, Hercules, and Asclepius. Because of the wound Chiron accidentally incurred at the hands of his most beloved student, Hercules, Chiron the planet has become best known as “the wounded healer.” Despite his skills as both an herbalist and surgeon, because Chiron was immortal, he was unable to heal himself and suffered lingering pain. He was shot in the leg with an arrow as Hercules fought off the wild centaurs (a different breed from Chiron altogether) at a marriage ceremony. As the story goes, the wild beasts smelled the festive wine, which brought out the worst in them. These other centaurs were untamed beasts who gave no second thought to rape and mayhem. Arrows flew as Hercules protected the bride from being ravaged. It was a stray arrow, dipped with the poison of the many-headed Hydra that produced Chiron’s incurable wound.

It is fascinating that astrologers have stayed as stuck on Chiron’s woundedness dimension as Chiron himself was stuck in his chronic wound. (Note the resemblance of that word to “Chironic.”) This is a vital aspect of Chiron’s story, but there is much more to it. Chiron was the son of Kronos (Saturn) and the sea nymph, Philyra. Kronos was married to Rhea, but became enamored with the nymph, so he turned them both into horses so that their affair could go undetected. (He turned Philyra into a Philly, so to speak.) Thus, Chiron was born in his half-horse, half-human condition.

When she first laid eyes on him, at the moment a mother normally first bonds with her baby, it’s reasonable to imagine that Philyra was horrified. She considered her son a freak and begged the gods to turn her into anything rather than force her to raise this “thing.” (You’d have thought she had learned her lesson about shape shifting.) The gods obliged and turned her into a linden tree, which has heart-shaped leaves. [4]

Kronos was already long gone before Chiron was born, so Chiron’s father never really knew him—his absent father’s rejection was once removed—more indirect. But the reaction of Chiron’s mother is one of the most heartless, all-out rejections imaginable. What does this part of the myth mean to us?

All the key words and concepts about Chiron refer to wholeness—or how to achieve it. Obviously, from the beginning, considering the myth, we come into this world feeling rejected and alienated at some level. One of Chiron’s major astrological meanings has to do with bonding issues and their opposite—a sense of separation, feeling different—like a misfit. For Chiron, it all started with mother—symbolized by the Moon. That brings me back to Chiron’s astronomy.

Astronomer Mark Bailey from the University of Manchester believes that Chiron is "the mother of all short-period comets." [5] In other words, Chiron was once whole and all other relatively short-lived comets broke off from Chiron. (Chiron’s mass appears to be a comet nucleus, but it orbits just like a planet—an outer planet, at that, given its position, and with all the astrological influence that implies concerning personal and planetary evolution.)
Like the planet Chiron, we were once whole, cruising the cosmos as free, unfettered spirits. [6] Then, like the centaur planet, we were sucked into a dense body, into the Earth's orbit, where our mission is to rediscover our original oneness with the other comet fragments. Thus, our heritage from Uranus (Heaven) is brought to Earth (Saturn) while we struggle to remember who we really are (and recover a little bit of Heaven here). Like Chiron, we often feel stuck—between Heaven and Earth and in mythical parallel, by the “slings and (especially the) arrows of cruel misfortune.”

This issue of “rough landings” was brought down to earth for me in a brilliant presentation by astrologer Brian Clark. [7] Our first relationship and bonding experience is with our mothers in utero. Then, we are cast out—she “rejects” us—and we are thrust into an alien world. We feel rejected for being ejected. As babies we operate almost entirely from our subconscious, and at some level, the original wounding of birth can linger, life-long, if we don’t rebond outside the womb with our mother and others. From that point forward, life is a quest to feel at one again, both inside and outside of ourselves. Chiron tells us, both in his myth and astronomical properties, that he is dual, and it is the pain of duality—of being divine in human form—that gets to us from the beginning. In practical terms, it continues to plague us until we can integrate our many opposites—good/evil, masculine/feminine, human/divine—and so on.

When it comes to the Mother Comet Chiron, there are Moon metaphors everywhere. In the last paragraph, we were sucked (suckled) into the orbit (orb/breast) of Mother Earth. The most profound cultural event related to Chiron’s sighting in 1977 is “the New Age.” This, of course, is a total misnomer for there’s nothing new about it, only the rediscovery of many lost esoteric arts we can associate with our more feminine, lunar side. Even though Chiron was a male and conducted an all-male heroes' school on Mount Pelion, he clearly was at one with his feminine side and wanted his charges to learn about theirs, as well. His education was holistic and included not just the martial arts, but the creative arts, as well. He taught in a balanced way, the full spectrum of skills, as he was instructed himself by Apollo and Artemis in the guise of the Sun and Moon. The discovery of Chiron coincides with men getting in contact with their animas, helping rear children, like the many Chiron foster parented. There was the matriarchy, then there was the patriarchy; now we have a chance for true integration. That takes developing our recessive polarity as well as our dominant one—the anima and animus in everyone.

A little known fact is that Chiron married—a sea nymph (it ran in the family) named Chariclo. The nymphs or Nereids were very psychic, among the most lunar beings described in Greek mythology. They had one daughter, Thea, whose name means, “shining one of the Moon.” [8] She was known for her gift of prophecy, and Chiron himself was an astrologer, who presumably turned out heroes because he could encourage them to develop their greatest gifts by casting their horoscopes.

This is one of the greatest paradoxes about Chiron from an astrological perspective. In our wounding lies the key to our healing, and it all has to do with feelings (Moon). We are taught to suppress how we feel, from little on, and those stuck knots of unresolved pain often rule us from the subconscious where we are unaware of what causes our knee jerk reactions to certain incidents that repeat past patterns. So we stay stuck in ritualistic responses, to the detriment of our growth. To be in a body is to feel, and Chiron is associated with the pain of embodiment. We use the expression, “a free spirit.” It takes a lot of living to learn to be free within the confines of flesh and blood—to feel merged with the other beings, despite this fleshy armor with all its foibles. Just trying to move through the thickness of matter can be a chore. Some part of us remembers when there were no walls (bodies) between us. That is what we crave and take so long to learn. It is a state of mind. Separation is really an illusion.
Ironically, our Chironic sore spots are also our power points. When we do the brave work to release past pain, we often discover our greatest gifts to contribute—where we can be a hero, which after all, was mythical Chiron’s job to produce. Some examples are the stutterer who over overcomes his disability to become a great statesman; the bereaved mother who forms an organization to help find missing children; the person from poor roots who makes it to the top and now sends kids from the ghetto to college.

I recommend studying Chiron in your chart with these triple metaphors in mind—its astronomy, myth, and the cultural events around its discovery. Any of the material in this or other sources that lights up “in yellow highlighter” as you read it, is a big hint about the meaning of your Chiron. If Chiron is angular, or highly aspected, ponder what you were doing in November 1977 for even further insights. When you uncover a “sore power point,” massage it gently, but most of all, keep your sense of humor.

If you’ve wondered about my puns and playful asides, they’re more than just for fun. Besides being “the best medicine,” laughter is physically releasing and enables us to “chuckle up” locked-in pain. (Examine the content of a comedy routine sometime and notice just how many parts pain go into the making.) The greatest thing I learned from my own mother was to laugh at myself. And when we laugh together, we are joined. We see each other as beautiful, no matter how unique we are or different from the next person.

You’ve got to be there for yourself, even if your mother or father wasn’t. If we can become our own positive parents and nurture ourselves in the best way possible through our Chironic wounds, we will discover our hidden gifts and positive personal power to give back to society—nurturing the bigger family of humanity. I believe this is the “higher Moon” Dane Rudhyar meant.

[1] Discovered at 10 a.m. in Pasadena, California.
[2] Stern, S. Alan, “The Chiron Perihelion Campaign,” Sky and Telescope, March 1995, pp. 32-34.
[3] Ibid.
[4] O’Brien, Dale, “The Myth of Chiron,” audio tape, recorded at The Mountain Astrologer’s 1991 Planet Camp in Philo, Calif.
[5] "The mother of all short period comets, " Discover, February 1991, p. 9.
[6] O’Brien (See note #2).
[7] Clark, Brian, “The 8th House: The Sacred Site of Eros,” UAC ‘92, Bulldog Audio, Inc.
[8] Clow, Barbara Hand, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets, (St. Paul: 1987), p.3.

This article first appeared in Chironicles in April 1995.


Photo credit: MAN CELEBRATING WITH MOON © Orangee | Dreamstime.com

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gear Down and Jest Humor Mercury Retrograde

September 6 - 29, 2009

My Moon and Mercury Pedigree

Many of you who know me personally are aware that I found my birth mom in the mid-‘80s after a 38-year separation by adoption. What a lunar overdose to have had two moms in my life. (My adoptive mom died in 1980. We were joined at the hip.) After my conjoined mom and I were separated, I enjoyed 15 years with my birth mom before she died in late 2001. Our relationship felt more like cousins, since she had not raised me, but what a treat I got, finally, to see how genetics play into who I am.

A large mom load seems appropriate for someone with my Moon configuration and Moon out of bounds, a concept that has felt at times in my life as scary as it sounds. I often feel overwhelmed by my emotions—too many feelings I can barely contain—and you can only imagine how well that sits with a Capricorn Moon in love with control and order. All this lunar pedigree is a set-up, actually, to talk about Mercury. (The poet in me cannot be silenced. I notice every few articles I have a rhyming line with no malice aforethought.) Helen, my birth mom, was a double Gemini with Venus in the Twins as well. Her late Gem Moon squared my Virgo Sun, which was quite prickly at times. But her reaction to Mercury Retrograde is what I want to talk about.

Don’t Kill the Messenger

When I found Helen in 1986, it was days before she was going to have a lumpectomy for breast cancer. Giving me up for adoption was the wound of her lifetime, which the manifestation of this disease no doubt expressed, at least in part. Our reunion brought deep healing on both sides. She survived cancer a long time before ultimately succumbing to it. When it crept back into her life several years before she passed, it was during Mercury’s retrograde cycle. From that point forward, she called me late each year to get the Murky Retro dates for the year to come. She marked them in her calendar and shook in her shoes every time the cycle came ‘round. She said it herself, “I’m superstitious about Mercury Retrograde.”

We have to get a grip about Mercury Retrograde! Especially since we have to live with this funomenon three to four times a year for more than three weeks at a time. I don’t want to minimize my mother’s situation. It was scary, and it didn’t end well—but then life on earth always has that same ending for all of us, eventually. Unfortunate news, even a cancer recurrence, is not the disease or the message content itself. It’s just information. Here we have another case of the expression, “Don’t kill the messenger.” Mercury may have “told” her some bad news, but Mercury wasn’t her cancer nor did Mercury cause it. If we want to “blame” a planet, there were certainly other planets more reflective of her situation.

But memories of this Mercury mother/daughter duo (Gemini and Virgo both Mercury-ruled) nudged me to want to talk about how we make the best of Mercury’s retrograde cycles. Even more so, I want to talk about how we keep living in spite of it, even when we’re stuck doing things we normally shouldn’t while Mercury is retrograde.

What Is Mercury Retrograde Good For?

On my other blog, Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights, I always note Mercury’s direct or retrograde cycles in the SkyHints sidebar. Rather than reinvent the wheel completely, I’d like to introduce you to an article by Karyl Jackson linked there, Mercury Retrograde: What Does It Mean and How Does It Impact You? I love her opening sentence: “Mercury retrograde provides the opportunity to adjust our thoughts, attitudes and decisions about our issues and adjust our new direction …”

Yes, Mercury Retrograde is good for something. It has a rhyme and reason. How we get into so much trouble when Mercury appears to move backwards in the sky has to do with the word disaster. Disaster means against the stars. When we rush forward in our mad dash Aries-like lifestyles, whether we have a single planet in Aries or not, we are completely ignoring what the sky is hinting loudly that we should do at this time. Retrograde starts with “re" and re-things are what we need to do: review, reconsider, reassess, and retreat, to name just a few.

The famous admonition not to start new projects, sign contracts, or initiate anything of real importance comes from the fact that most people won’t synchronize with the season of a few weeks of Mercury in reverse. When we keep going forward during a time designed for inner thinking and adjustment, our brains can be muddled, communications and communications devices go kaflooey, and short trips can be minor nightmares. Not always, but these are the prevailing winds because most of us refuse to become introverted for a few weeks three times a year. When we don’t hear the universe the first time when it whispers to us to slow down, it eventually has to yell.

"It's to Laugh"

Birth mom Helen had an expression when something could be so frustrating, the choice was to laugh or cry. “It’s to laugh, Joyceka,” she’d say to me. Most of Mercury’s disasters are actually more annoying and frustrating than serious. Mind you, they can annoy to distraction, but probably we will not disincarnate or lose our minds, even if we feel like we’re on the brink. We can minimize the impact by doing what Mercury Retrograde is good for. Two of the best things I’ve found involve the re-word review—editing or reviewing my financial books. Many a mistake and avoided complication has come out of balancing my checkbook during this time. Reflect is another wonderful re-word that will make the quicksilver god blow you a kiss.

Other coping mechanisms: Swap Murky Retro horror stories with your friends with the intent of making light of them. You’ll quickly see how fun The Trickster is, because most of us humans take ourselves far too seriously. Journal your Mercury Retro experiences and figure out what they are trying to tell you. Both of these are fabulous alternatives to pulling your hair out.

What If You Can’t Avoid the Don’t-Do’s During Mercury Retro

Example #1: Here’s my chance to tell you some more tales from the laboratory of my life. Much to my nervous chagrin, when my husband Tim and I went to buy our first house together, we had to sign the contract during Mercury Retrograde. We were both in love with the house. It had a view of Folsom Lake from the backyard and was situated a block from my best friend’s house. It was a hot property at the right price. We knew if we didn’t strike while the iron was hot, someone else would snap it up.

The Murky Retro disaster that ensued was one of my most memorable ones, the one that should have made me more permanently superstitious about Mercury Retro than my mom. Long story short, the owner backed out on the signed contract, went into hiding, and we could not get our $1000 earnest money back without hiring an attorney to the tune of half of that amount. Tim's Leo Moon had him pacing like a caged Lion, and he was livid. It took a long time for us to get over the loss …

… until we recognized it as a divine delay, distracting us from purchasing a wrong house till the right one came on the market for us. As the drama died down from House #1, our realtor discovered our truly perfect property, the one we bought and have lived in for 11 years.

Example 2: I have had several friends forget that they could actually consult me about their marriage or other important dates. I have stopped asking them to reconsider when they have chosen to be married during Mercury Retro, especially when it is not a first marriage. If Mercury Retro is good for re-things, why not remarriage? At some level, the second or third marriage is a redo, a do-over, a return to a committed relationship with a new person and hopefully in a new way. I think the key to whether or not a remarriage chart works well under Mercury Retro has more to do with attitude than anything. Is there renewal—a return to marriage with lessons learned—or is it, to use one of my husband’s favorite expressions, “another lap around the track?”

Example 3: This is the one I’m living right now. Our house is suffering from dry rot, and we have been working on replacing the wood with vinyl siding that has high insulation factor to give us a lifetime new exterior and energy savings to boot. If the Shadow of this Mercury Retrograde is anything like the real thing, maybe I should listen to my mother and hide under the covers for the next three weeks. Due to an assorted comedy of errors and the lending market, now tight as a drum, we had difficulty getting a loan for the full amount of the project. This primarily had to do with a low-ball estimate on the value of our home. I have spent the last two weeks a nervous wreck—a Mercurial condition if there ever was one. Today it all got resolved in the positive, but guess what? Now we have to sign those loan papers during Mercury Retrograde.

Here’s what I figure: The loan is for repair and renovation—both Mercury Retro re-things. I had my grief and we had our glitches during the Shadow. I should be all paid up. There’s nothing we can do but go along with the program, since neither the bank nor the contractor is going to wait for me to be astrologically comfortable. We started early enough that this should not have happened—in theory. The project “should” have been done by now! What I can do under the circumstances is to review the fine print—more than once.

Intuition and Attitude

I had an opportunity, recently, to have surgery on a day Western Astrology would not exactly have deemed a good one. Yet I had a strong sense that I should do it then without further delay. (There wasn’t a single “good” Thursday, the only day my doctor does surgery, for months.) The date was July 23. I learned from a friend who follows the channeled material of Lazaris that this is the most powerful day of every year, when the Sirius Vortex opens and the goddess/creative energy is most accessible in a window ending September 15. Other symbol systems backed it up as a better time than my astrological lens would have indicated. These things helped me decide to go forward, but most of all; gut instinct led me to say yes. To overcome my “astrological programming” took a strong feeling!

Although there were a few complications on the way, the outcome was all my doctor and I could have hoped for--and more. She is convinced it’s my attitude that made it so. I determined that this was going to be successful, and nothing would keep me from remaining calm, centered, and positive. For the first time I can ever recall (I’m quite Neptunian), I set firm boundaries about sharing information on this health issue. I never discuss the details in public; I chose not to tell anyone who might worry or envision a negative outcome; and I asked for exactly the kind of support I needed. Namely, I asked everyone to see this condition healed, to say only positive things, and to send healing energy and visions of a good outcome my way.

Let’s do an experiment this Mercury Retrograde. Let’s see how well a positive and playful attitude works on getting us through this cycle of The Messenger pedaling backwards. If there are things you just have to do on the Avoid During Mercury Retro List, let your intuition guide you—and your sense of humor smooth over any wrinkles.

There are billions of people living under the same sky, and the Creator has ways of working with you to customize experience according to your needs, despite the general cosmic weather conditions.
It’s just like those lucky families—we are friends with one of them—who survive the destructive forces of a hurricane. (Mercury only seems that awful at times.)

We can’t stop living during Mercury Retrograde. We can only align with it as much as possible and do what needs to be done, even if we have a few discomforts to pay for it. Lead with your sense of humor. The Trickster’s joke will be on us if we allow too much doomsday and fear to dominate this cycle that seems to be back too soon, too many times a year.

Rethink it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Quotes for the Signs #3

It's time for more Quotes for the Signs! I'll continue these words to live by for each of the 12 characters of the zodiac as long as readers keep reading them. They are popular posts, so on with Round Three!

ARIES: In this age, which believes that there is a shortcut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest. ~Henry Miller

TAURUS: The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. ~George Bernard Shaw

GEMINI: Be kind to your shadow. ~Rebecca Lawless

LEO: Swallow your pride occasionally; it's non-fattening! ~Author Unknown

VIRGO: No one is perfect... that's why pencils have erasers. ~Author Unknown

LIBRA: What is the opposite of two? A lonely me, a lonely you. ~Richard Wilbur

I'm not a woman, I'm a force of nature. ~ Courtney Love

SAGITTARIUS: It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. ~Attributed to Harry S. Truman

CAPRICORN: No matter how hard you hug your money, it never hugs back. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

AQUARIUS: It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not. ~Andre Gide

PISCES: Illusion is the first of all pleasures. ~ Voltaire

Photo Credit: AND I QUOTE © Zitramon Dreamstime.com

Read More Quotes for the Signs: Quotes #1 and Quotes #2.